I remember taking my teens to their first youth conference. I was excited. I was pumped, and as I stepped off the luxurious motor coach, it was as if I was taken to a magical land that would make Dorothy jealous. I imagined a yellow brick road opening before me as my teens and I all skipped to the rhythm of a happy little tune to join this wonderful assembly of people.
There were all sorts of different groups, each with their own colorful t-shirt with a catchy Christian phrase. Some were frolicking about in the grass playing Ultimate Frisbee. Others, for some reason, were tapping on cups and passing them to the person seated next to them. And then, it happened. One group shouted at another, “We love Jesus, yes we do! We love Jesus, how about you?!?”
If you’ve ever taken your teens to a youth conference before, there’s no doubt you’ve heard the Jesus Cheer, and if you haven’t, well I might have to question your youth ministry credentials. What boggles my mind is how this “holy” cheer originated. In my opinion it probably started when one youth minister said something like this to his or her teens:
“Ok everyone. I’ve got a great way for us to show our love of God. Let’s yell about how much we love Him while suggesting that another group may in fact NOT love him. What do you think?”
Regardless of how it started, it appears that the Jesus Cheer is here to stay. With that said, here are three possible responses you can utilize at the next youth conference.
1. Shock and Awe
If you’ve never heard the Jesus Cheer before, this is no doubt your first response. I know the first time I heard it I was in awe. I was impressed by the boldness of a group to declare their love for Jesus while questioning another group’s love for Him. It was a little edgy, but I thought it had something to it.
But soon this awe turned to pure shock as the group that was initially targeted with the cheer fired back with . . . the same exact cheer! Yep. Try to wrap your head around that. My thought: “Did you not hear them the first time?”
2. Unbridled Enthusiasm
If you have a strong competitive fire that lies deep within your soul, this is your response. You live for the Jesus Cheer. You strategically plan when your group will use it, and more than likely, you even practice it with your teens on the bus ride. Your dedication is evident, and if someone in your group isn’t participating with their entire being, may God have mercy on their soul.
3. Head Shake and Eye Roll
Believe it or not, some youth ministers actually do not like the Jesus Cheer. In fact whenever it happens, you will recognize them by their ability to step away from the crowd and shake their heads in disgust.
This response may come off as a little holier than thou, but there’s a good chance that this same group of people once participated with unbridled enthusiasm. But now they have just gotten a little too cool for it and would rather stand back and roll their eyes as they sip on their lattes.
Regardless of the response, we all want the teens to get excited for any youth ministry event. Why? Because we want them to come to know the unconditional love of Christ that we know in our lives. I mean, after all, we love Jesus, yes we do. We love Jesus, and the teens should too.
Question: How do you get teens fired up at an event? (Share below)
Bonus Question: I love Jesus yes I do. I love Jesus, how about you?