Jonathan's Answers to Tough Questions
I have been planning to start a Christian Youth Fellowship club at my public school. I have a friend who has wanted to help lead it with me. She has many other ideas about it though. She doesn’t think that it should be an outreach club. She believes that it should only be for "devoted Christians". One of the main reasons that I wanted to start it was for outreach-- there is a low Christian population at our school.
How can I deal explain it to her that I feel very passionate about an outreach type club?
Also, this year at school, we have a lot of changes in schedules and all that. Apparently, we are only allowed to have 10 clubs at school. Since CYF is a new club, it might not be approved. What are some other options we could do instead of an in-school club that non-Christians can still come to?
Thanks for the email.
A campus club is a great outreach. I love to hear your excitement.
You asked some very good questions- I'll try to attack them one at a time:
1. About your choice of either OUTREACH or GROWTH for your club. I've seen either work, it depends on the passion of the leader. If your passion is outreach, and you're going to be leading it, then make it an outreach club. What better place to do outreach than on campus. I've also seen great "growth" or "bible study" clubs on campus. These are great as long as they don't become exclusive. These work especially well when there is already a strong outreach ministry in the area.
One thing for certain- you need to decide which direction you are going to go before going into it. Then you need all partners and help (like your friend) to be on the same page. So if you decide that it's going to be outreach, you need to sell that idea to your friend. Usually there are a lot of growth opportunities at local churches, and very few outreaches. So in that situation, I think it's great to fill the gap with an on-campus outreach, not another growth ministry. (But I'm biased- look at my website. My passion is outreach.)
2. I hope you're able to get the club on-campus. If you do- and it's outreach- you gotta think of a cool name besides "Bible Club" or "Christian Youth Club" or something like that. Think about it. If you were an "unchurched" kid and you heard that there was a "Bible Club" or "Christian Club" . . . would you want to attend that?
Call it "The Safehouse" a place where you're safe to have fun and share who you are. Or "The Rock", solid ground when your world is shaky . . . you get the idea.
3. If you can't do it on campus- then look into some off campus outreach options. I know plenty of churches that do fantastic outreach in teen centers, local community centers, churches, etc. You can see 5 ministries that I interviewed linked at the end of my article "HOW Do I Understand and Reach the Unchurched Teen." Check that article out on my HOW DO I page: http://www.thesource4ym.com/howdoi/staffutu.asp Read the article on reaching the unchurched, then click at the link on the bottom to my interview of the 5 ministries.
I also talk a little more about it on my ASK JONATHAN page . . . look about a dozen questions down to where an adult asked about starting a campus ministry. I went through a lot of the steps- some may relate to your situation: http://www.thesource4ym.com/askthesource/
And there is a great resource for you if you wonder what kind of discussions to lead at this kind of outreach club. Check out my TOPICAL CURRICULUM page: http://www.thesource4ym.com/outreach/ and click on YOUTH OUTREACH AGENDAS. You'll see a ton.
I go over a lot more of this stuff in my book as well: http://www.thesourcefym.com/book.asp
Hope that helps.
The Source for Youth Ministry