5 misconceptions about large youth groups

Misconceptions about large youth groupsWhen I worked in a small church setting, I’ll admit that I held several beliefs about large church youth groups that were solely based on an outside perception. But now that I work in a church that some people would consider “large,” I see that none of them were true.

1. Worship is more energetic in a large group. This depends on what you mean by “energetic.” If by energetic you mean lots of lights and loud sound systems, then yes, larger churches are more likely to be able to pull that off, but we all know that energetic worship has nothing to do with genuine and authentic worship, which usually has nothing to do with energy.

2. They can do events that are more attractive to teens and outsiders. Not true. Some teens and outsiders are attracted to smaller intimate groups for a whole variety of reasons: they feel like someone knows them, that they’ll be missed if they don’t show up the next week, or that there’s more authenticity than show.

3. Their large budget lets them do a lot more events and programs. As someone who works with a “large” budget, I can guarantee you that having a large budget doesn’t necessarily mean that it goes any further on a large group than a small budget goes on a small group.

4. They have more leaders to recruit from. Just as the budget ratio between students and dollars is often similar for both large and small ministries, so it is for adult leaders. There may be a larger pool of leaders to recruit from, but there’s also a lot more leaders needed to serve. The struggle is often the same either way.

5. Bigger ministry somehow equals better ministry. Quantity over quality does not apply to bigger youth groups any more than quality over quantity applies to smaller youth groups. The effectiveness of a youth group has nothing to do with it’s size nor how “busy” it is with activities and events.

Posted on July 1, 2010

  • PJ Wong

    great post tim.
    i find that in my neck of the woods, mega churches and larger groups are either worshipped or ridiculed. sad to see either way.
    a community is a community, no matter how big or small, they've each got their own ticks.


  • I totally agree, Tim. The three churches I've served as a youth pastor have been medium, small, and large (in that order). When I served the small church, students who visited and stayed often said they liked the intimate setting. And there were also times when a family would visit and it would become clear they were looking for a larger church setting; I was happy to refer them to great churches in our area that better fit what they were looking for.

    While I love where I am now, there are days when I miss the small setting. Bigger doesn't mean better; it's just different, with its own set of benefits and challenges.

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