Last night we had a whole bunch of teens in the house for Teen House Church (THC). As I looked around our crowded basement I was so impressed with the people involved in my kids lives. Our THC rotates between homes and is lead by the Dads of the teens who attend. We also have a young couple that lead THC as a whole, getting to know the kids, challenging them, praying for them and being consistent role models in the lives of the youth of our church. Joe is an amazing man, he recently finished law school and is now a lawyer. He is an extremely intelligent man. I admire the fact that despite having to study hard while he was in school, he put memorizing the Bible as a higher priority. I love how he shows these kids that God honors and blesses us when we put Him first. Joe's wife Katie is as sweet as they come and makes everyone feel as if they were her best friend. She is so quick to share her story of straying off the straight and narrow path, and the fact that God rescued her. They are both so real and transparent, not sugar coating life in any way. I'm so thankful my kids have a chance to see up close and personal the results of living for Christ in people outside of our immediate family.
The other thing that struck me last night was the fact that 8 Dads gave up their Saturday evening to spend with a bunch of teens. The Dads rotate who is teaching, if you are hosting the teen group then you are teaching. All of these men have so much to offer in the way of their unique experiences. It would be easy to just opt out of coming to THC when it isn't your turn to share, but rarely do they choose not to come. Besides teaching when it is their turn, they help prepare the communion cups, play bongo drums during worship, serve by cleaning, lead in prayer or just hang out and have fun getting to know the friends of their children. The kids don't seem embarrassed or annoyed that their parents are here with them. To most of the teens it's quite normal to have a conversation with any of the parents in attendance. It's encouraging to me as a Mom to know that my kids have a safe environment with many caring adults that they could talk to if they wanted or needed.
One other important feature that makes the THC a success is the fact that the teens really do own this time. Each week 2 different teens will share from their own personal quiet times about what God is showing them. Ellie shared this week about reading a verse that said to pray 7 times a day because that is more important than the law. This challenged her to put God first and to pause several times a day to pray, also to read her Bible even before tackling her school work. Kyle shared about reading in Revelation where it's talking about things to expect in heaven, like getting a new name. He thought this was really cool and looked forward to these benefits of heaven, but as he was reading he noticed that all these things came to those who were "conquerors". To be a conqueror requires more that just sitting around letting life go by, it requires action. He shared how this challenged him and hopefully that challenged others who were listening to his thoughts. There are quite a few kids that show up so after worshiping and breaking bread together they have a chance to go into "tiny" groups to share prayer requests on a more intimate level. These smaller groups are lead by some of the older teens, girls in separate groups from the boys. I love that the relationships built here are across all ages.
Relationships is really the key feature in the THC and how it is structured. A meal is served each time they meet, what better way to fellowship then over food. There is a time for worship, with a few of the teens leading singing and playing guitar. There are 30 + teens crammed into a small space, singing praises, sharing communion and reminding us of the ultimate relationship we are needing with God. The families are in relationship with each other and have an interest in encouraging each others kids in their walk with the Lord. When the "official" youth group time is over, it's not uncommon for everyone to just stick around and play games or watch a movie. These are the people we do life with, and what a blessing they are.