Tweens is a bit of a recurring theme and is the most popular piece of training that I am involved with at the moment. Jenny Hyson and I identified some values that are, in our opininon, critical to working with the changes that have happened with this age group. We talk about being Age Approprate (the need to recognise that Tweens are very different to our experience of being this age), the need for work to revolve around Relationship and not programme, that learning as a focus not teaching at is a priority. We also look at Spirituality as a practice and the need for discussion and learning to relate to the wider world (of which Tweens are very much aware).
None of this is Rocket Science, however for Churches it often requires a Paradigm shift. The important thing in the training is leaders talking about how these values could/should/will shape their work with the Tweenagers.
I thought it would be good to play with some ideas of what a Tween group could be, if you want the Story then you’ll need to click on “Continue Reading”
Tuesday evening and the junior youth group are all arriving at a leaders house for their regular get together. The crowd of a dozen or so 10-12 year olds arrival in quick succession and sit around the lounge chatting and catching up. Part of the session involves eating together and the young person whose turn it is to cook takes a BIG packet of Pasta, some tins of soup and some Cheese to the Kitchen and tells one of the leaders what they will be eating tonight. Another of the Tweens helps make the food ready for cooking later.
Everyone then gets together in the main lounge sitting on the floor or bean bags and one of the leaders runs a bit of a how are you, what’s been happening discussion which ranges all over the place and everyone has something to add, the group head off on a big tangent of “Famous people that I have met” but the leader lets it run and it generates some great laughter and story.
Things are then brought a bit more to order and a guest is welcomed, a local Christian Youth Minister who the group have invited. The guest is invited to tell their story in 5 minutes of why they are a Christian and what difference it actually makes. The Tweens then ask questions about what they’ve heard and how some of it actually works for the Youth Minister, the questions are fascinating and the group often end up discussing the things that have been said. There is a mixture of real depth and great fun, One of the Tweens talks about how she knows God is speaking to her.
The group all then pray for the Speaker and their role as a Christian Youth Minister applying the stuff that they have heard.
It’s time for the notices and the Leader of the group reports on progress to date on fund-raising they as a group are doing for the older youth groups Mission trip to Armenia. There is a great deal of enthusiasm and although the group wish they were old enough to go thet have thrown themselves into supporting the older group. The Leader then reveals that she has found a Christian project locally that they may be able to get involved in in the summer and says, “What do you think?”
There is some discussion and an enthusiastic consensus that that would be FANTASTIC! The group then spend some time doing some practical and creative work on the fund raising while a couple of the Tweens cook Tea.
They then split into three groups and pray for each other before each having a bowl of the Pasta, Soup and Cheese recipe one of the young people concocted. Lots of laughs and chats with the leaders and with each other and the group ends.
I know it all seems a bit unrealistic …. BUT that was the group I was invited to last night and it was FAB! (Names have been changed to protect the groovy!) Cool huh?