Last Saturday, we had a youth parent meeting to hear about the progress on the youth house churches over the past one and half years and of its future plans. Many parents filled out a survey before the meeting and have attended the meeting as well, so I can tell that many of the parents are interested in the youth ministry at our church.
According to the survey taken by the parents, there were two main concerns. First, even though youth house church is a great way to develop leadership skills for the shepherds through serving and they get necessary training and support from their zone leaders when needed, for those members who are not shepherds don’t seem to get enough care from their shepherds and adult supervision. I have discussed this matter with Pastor Sam Oh and other church staff members extensively and have agreed to modify the concept.
Until now, youth house church has been structured just like the adult house church: the pastor and the zone leader care for the shepherds and the shepherds look after their members. However, it is difficult to expect such a system to work with youth shepherds who are not fully grown up themselves. Therefore, from now on the shepherds’ role toward their members will be more like a brother or a sister who exercises good influence on them, and those house church members who are having some difficulties will be taken care with the pastor and zone leaders. In order for such a system to work, more zone leaders will be elected since one zone leader can only take care of one or two house churches. So it would be good if Korean congregation members who are not shepherds and can speak English would volunteer to serve as zone leaders for the youth group since all the zone leaders have been elected from the English congregation until now.
Second, there were many opinions regarding life courses that started from last year, especially how it should be changed from voluntary like the adults to mandatory for the youth. I agree, so starting next year, all youth will be taking life courses twice a year according to their grades and during the school break. That time will be used for the zone leaders and shepherds to care for their house church members or for other programs. To accomplish this plan, Pastor Sam Oh and his team are developing life courses right now, and it will be perfected with time.
Another issue to add is how the parents from the Korean congregation feel distanced from our youth group. A good part of it has to do with the cultural and language differences among the two groups, so I am planning on establishing a parent organization to overcome that issue. The organization will do things like counseling the parents on issues with their youth and providing help with understanding the school system and policies in the United States to narrow the gap.
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