This is the story about my efforts to
create a different kind of "youth group" at my church. The names
of the church, kids and leaders have been changed.
The Tribe13 Experiment grew out
of my 25+ years experience and insights in youth ministry and
family ministry. The "Experiment" sought to overcome many of the
chronic problems and unmet goals of traditional children and
youth ministry. And it sought to re-invent our Confirmation
experience in the process.
Tribe13 in a sentence: We
took 2 grades of kids and formed them into a group starting
with they were young, and we kept them together with the
same leaders to be a family-oriented fellowship that grew up
More about that in this article!
To the Tribe13 kids, leaders, and
parents, the group was
a great success. Many goals were met, we became close,
the parents were very appreciative, and attendance stayed
strong. I was a Presbyterian minister serving as a volunteer in
the congregation, my 'full-time' ministry being what you see
before you at sundaysoftware.com.
Change is not easy. Not every member or staff person at my
church understood what we were trying to do. Some didn't
understand what we were trying to achieve, and a few
didn't appreciate how our approach "critiqued" traditional
approaches (which some of them had worked in over the years).
Some probably felt threatened by ideas and our success. Some
just gave mixed messages and qualified support. Our
Tribe13 "experiment" ended in 2007 after a very successful seven
year run. The church was struggling with some dysfunctional
behavior and leadership, -and it came to a head in 2007,
--sending my family and several others towards the exit doors.
That's part of the story here too: that innovative ministry is
challenging enough without external issues making it harder!
Read the full article at our new