To recap, at this point in Sarah’s journey, we’d seen her interest in spiritual things wane. Unsure if it was just part of adolescence or a deeper heart issue, we set about doing everything we could to nurture her faith. I’d gotten three spiritual mentors for her, and we’d tried the Student (or Youth) Ministry. But we still weren’t getting anywhere.
If Not the Youth Group, Then…
If you recall, we attend a large church. So I took a look around to see where else she might plug in. It’s important to have fellowship, growth, accountability, and teaching. If she wasn’t going to get it among her teen peers, maybe there was another place that would be a better fit.
The Church Orchestra
For Sarah, the obvious place to start was the church orchestra. She loves band, and she is crazy good. I even knew a couple of the people in the orchestra, so even though they were all adults, this seemed promising. I talked to the worship pastor, and we set up a time for her to come in and play for him. He wanted to be sure she could play at the level of the orchestra’s music. She got in. After a bit of a bumpy start with rehearsals (remember, we’re up against some social anxiety in all of this, too), she hit her stride. My superstar hubby got her to church early for rehearsal on Sunday. She enjoyed playing; she was with grown-up band geeks; and it was stretching and growing her as a musician.
Two downsides. First, since we know a lot of people at church, we found something out. During second hour, after the orchestra was done, she’d find a bench and camp out on her phone. Um, no. That’s not why we come to church, my dear. But it was understandable since she’d already heard the message during first hour. Second, although she was with people she could relate to, she wasn’t getting real Christian fellowship. As solid and spiritually mature as those people were, they just weren’t set up to interact with each other much. So, Sarah wasn’t growing in the Lord or sharing life with other believers. We weren’t quite there.
Serving in Another Ministry
We needed to find somewhere else for her to be after she finished playing, either first or second hour. We tried a couple of things. Our children’s area always needs help, so we set her up to go over and help during second hour when she finished playing. She did that for at least a month, but it fell flat. She didn’t have a specific role, so there wasn’t a place or person for her to find and help out every week. Sometimes, she didn’t have anything to do. Because there was no consistency, she felt that she wasn’t really needed. Without purpose or joy, it wasn’t a fit. Moving on.
Coming to Class with Us
Next, we had her come to our Sunday School class when she finished playing. Not ideal because she still wasn’t getting fellowship. It was an adult class, plus she had to leave early to get ready to play again in the next service. But at least she was receiving good teaching. It was just a placeholder, really. But not a bad place to hold a place for a little while.
A Youth Group at Another Church?
Realizing that we still hadn’t found a permanent solution, we encouraged her to ask friends where they went to church. We told her that it was no problem to have church in one place and her youth group somewhere close to home. But since she wasn’t motivated to make this a priority…she didn’t. She found out where a few friends went (none were a good match) but was very lukewarm about the whole thing. I’m sure she was hoping we’d lose steam, and she could just coast along until she went off to college. Silly girl.
Tune in next time to see how we took a major step in a whole new direction!