Would You Turn Away Teens?

Courtesy of Dru Bloomfield – At Home in Scottsdale/Creative Commons License

What’s the perfect size small group?  6, 8 or 10 teens with one or two adults?  At what point are there too many teens in your ministry?

That’s a problem most of us would like to face; however, it’s an important one to answer before it happens.  As your ministry grows, so does the need for more adults; however, both groups hardly grow simultaneously.  There are times when we have more adults than teens and times when we have more teens than adults.  At what point (If there even is one) do you close a group and stop accepting teens?

While everyone wants growth in their youth ministry, it’s important to make sure that growth is healthy.  To keep it healthy means maintaining your ratio of kids to adults.  The reason ratios are so important is because they:

  • Build Personal Accountability – As a speaker it’s hard for me to hold a room of 20 teens accountable.  In small groups you have one adult who can pour into about six teens.  Once you start going above that it’s hard to keep track of who is dealing with what.  While there is accountability it’s not as strong.
  • Share God’s Intimate Love – While God can love everyone equally, you and I will struggle.  To pour into each and every teen with the same energy is tough.  That’s why you need adults who can listen to another teen’s problem, pray with and encourage them.  God’s love is powerful; however, it also needs to be shared in close personal ways.
  • Open Up Conversations – It’s hard to do an authentic and transparent conversation in a large room.  In large groups it’s difficult to give everyone the same opportunity to share and go deep.  While great discussions can happen in a large group setting, they can’t go as deep as in a small group.

While authentic relationships can happen in many settings, to go deeper you need healthy ratios.  But, to what length would you go?  Would you turn away a teen to keep the group a healthy size?  Or would you risk the level of conversation to squeeze everyone in?

Share Your Thoughts.

Would You Turn Away Teens To Maintain A Healthy Ratio?