https://www.episcopalchicago.org/our-stories/ if you want a chance to read.) Since becoming the youth group pastor, her teen group has grown quickly. In the article she mentions modeling her youth group after a 2008 booklet, "Sustainable Youth Ministry". One of the main ideas is that for every child, there should be many adults who care for them.
This idea is so phenomenal if you really think about it. There are so many children in this world who don't have anyone to care for them the way that they should be cared for emotionally. I don't know where I would actually be if I didn't have a caring youth pastor or youth helpers when I was growing up.
Side story- When I was growing up, my grandma was the only person in our family who attended church on a regular basis and also lived by example as the way that Christ lived. When I was in grade school, I remember her taking me and my sisters to church on a Wednesday night to participate in Caravans- some churches call them Awanas. It's basically like the downplayed version of church boy/girl scouts. Each week, we would learn about Jesus, but on the side, we would also do different things to earn badges.
Without going into too much detail, growing up at home wasn't always the greatest. Going to church, even on Wednesday nights, provided a fun opportunity to go out and have fun, then afterwards, Grandma would take us to get ice cream or Mc Donald's for dinner.
Regrettably, I was the naughty child of the group and thankfully, the group leader would still stick by even though I would start fights and could be down right mean to them. No one ever told me not to come back and for that, I'm grateful.
Going to church then, was often sporadic. It wasn't really until my later years in Jr. High that I attended regularly. I hadn't fully grasped the concept of what it meant to be a Christian, but there were so many adults who led me and helped out in our youth group. The adults all listened to what I had to say and showed each and everyone of us that attended each Wednesday and now Sunday that teenagers do go through things. They were the same things that the helpers went through. They were able to help guide us, but more importantly, care.
When I was in High School, my mom began to go to church and then my other grandma would go. My sisters and I joined Bible Quizzing and participated in everything that we could. The Bertolozzi name began to be known and I just remember adults from all over the congregation saying hello and tell me that they were always praying for us. People from the church were investing themselves into our lives- into my life!
The summer between the end of my Sophomore and beginning of my Junior year, I had the awesome opportunity to go to Texas for NYC which was a large convention for the youth in the Nazarene church. It was that time when I really knew what it was like to live for Christ. It was then my life began to turn around. I began to have more patience. I learned that it was better to talk instead of hit, to listen instead of argue.
My life isn't perfect by any means, but because of the youth group workers who invested in my life, I chose to live my life a little better each day, to be faithful to my husband, to try my best at being a good mother, and to raise my kids to know love like Jesus loves us.
My challenge to you is this; if you attend a church and don't already, volunteer to help out with your youth group or help teach Sunday school. From my experience, I led the church Bible Quizzing team for a few years and I was also the youth president at our church for one. I also volunteered for most of my grown up life and I have had so many rewarding experiences seeing the kids grow and building relationships with them.
Not every child lives in a happy two parent home. Some live in unhappy homes with two parents or live in a happy single parent home. Sometimes, you are the only adult that can help mediate things. Maybe some kids have something that they need to say, but don't know how to. You can be the person who helps. You can be one of the people in this child's life who shows they care.
Did you have anyone who invested in you that made you a better person today?