What do Kids Really Want?

This last week I made my way through Kara Powell’s new book The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family – a book that contains a lot of research on creating sticky faith and even more practical tips on building lasting faith into kids. One chapter that really caught my attention was her chapter on “Service that Sticks.”

Dr. Powell interviewed five hundred youth group graduates and asked them the question: “what do you wish you would have had more of in youth group?” This was these student’s opportunity to openly and honestly share what they would have really wanted to do at Church. Its sort of scary question, because it can make a youth pastor/leader feel like the students didn’t actually like what the ministry was doing.

What do you think students really want from their youth groups?

Well Dr. Powell and her team at Fuller seminary compiled all of their research and discovered that youth group graduates wanted the following four things from their youth group:

  1. Time for deep conversation
  2. Mission Trips
  3. Service Projects
  4. Games

Who would have imagined that students didn’t place games and fun activities at the top of their list!??! Your pastors and leaders would do well to listen to what these students really want. If our students want to go on mission trips – give them mission trips! If they want to serve others, let them serve others! We need to be intentional about creating missional opportunities for our youth groups – hopefully those experiences carry over into adulthood!

High School Students on a Mission Trip
High School Students on a Mission Trip

Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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