It didn't take long to realize that we would need a youth group. I know that sounds antiquated, "churchy," or even cumbersome to the vitality and energy of a brand new church. True, unless the majority of that church's most committed members are under the age of eighteen. Welcome to Bridge City Community!
We average between 25-35 "unaccompanied minors" on Sunday mornings - children who walk from the projects to church. On average we serve+share a meal with 55 students every Tuesday night. A youth group wasn't just something we thought we needed to legitimize our church, but a necessity to being a local church in south Chattanooga. So.. we did it. Listen Up is a refrain we regularly use around BCC so it made perfect sense to use it as the name for the gathering and discipling of our youth.
Our first Thursday we had just over 20 youth catch a ride on the Bridge City Bus from the rec center to my house (Pastor Josh). After killing ten pizzas, five 2-liters of soda, and two boxes of Nilla Wafers in 15 minutes we got things rolling with a game of Big Happy Family and splitting the kids into two teams: Team SWAG (Saved with Amazing Grace) and Team Smileys. No one wanted to leave and the bus ride home was raucous. The kids were excited. Mark was pumped. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face for the rest of the night... until I realized how many pizzas I would need each week!
God is working through BCC to reach these youth. Please pray for them and for us as we tackle urban, racial, and youth related issues with the instruction and grace of God. Our children aren't the "next generation" but make up the majority of our current identity, which is why we are creating opportunities for encountering God now.