If You Want Something Done Well. . .
Tim smiling
As we mentioned in last months letter, we kicked off our "youth workers
survey" by personally attended the National Congress of the Presbyterian
Youth Societies, where we received 65 completed surveys from 15
different states (of the 32 in Mexico.)  We also sent surveys to two
other conferences held in the same week.  At one, the 75 surveys that we
sent were misplaced.  At the other, they were handed out but then not
collected.   In both cases, the time slot allotted for completing and
collecting the surveys was taken up by speakers who went significantly
overtime.  So although we got fewer back than we had hoped, they have
given us a good start.
 Q:  What is something specific you need in your work with youth?
A:  Everything
Youth Group
If you could read the survey results it would break your heart.  The
responses we have gleaned so far are from many different states and
types of churches, but the responses are strikingly similar.  Most of
the people working with youth are lay volunteers in their 20ís with no
training, no resources but the Bible, and no budget but their own
pocket.  Of the 85 people we surveyed only 3 hold full-time paid
positions.  In general, the church is not putting a priority on youth.
One of our questions asked:  "How many members are there in your
church?  How many of those are youth?  Of those youth, how many are
actively involved in the youth activities?"  Here are some answers from
a wide range of church sizes:
33 members, of which 13 are youth, and 3 are actively involved in the youth activities;
80 members, 20 youth, 6 involved;
100 members, 30 youth, 2 involved;
200 members, 80 youth, 25 involved;
400 members, 55 youth, 25 involved;
1500 members, 300 youth, 150 involved.
As you can see, the percent of youth (in Mexico, "youth" = 13 to 29 yr.
olds and unmarried) attending the church and involved in youth
activities doesnít really change even as churches grow.  Our initial
findings show that between 6 - 12% of the members of a Mexican church
are youth, when 40% of the population of Mexico are youth.  If these
churches were effectively reaching the youth, their statistics should
look like this:  100/40/45 - with the extra 5 being kids from outside
their church that they are reaching out to.
Youth Group President Gets Second Wind
Uriel Gonzales Zetina
We took a 22 hour train ride from Mexico City to Torreon, Coahuila with
several youth from our church including this yearís youth group
president, Uriel Gonzales.  Uriel started out the year excited about
returning the group to itís glory days of a few years ago when it had
lots of members, enthusiasm, and fellowship.  But when things didnít
change quickly and the pressures of his work and last semester of
college closed in, he pretty much dropped out, blaming everyone else for
being apathetic.  We didnít expect the conference to help much because
it was purely business (real C-SPAN quality stuff.)  But God can work in
spite of boring youth congresses, and He encouraged Uriel through
contact with committed, excited Christians.  Uriel came back wanting to
finish the year well, and even ready to take on some responsibility.
Your Friends...
Tim & Annette faces
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