My kids want to go to a youth group at another church with their friends. We don’t have time to be involved at this church and wonder if it is OK to hand our kids to another group.
Kids attend another church’s youth group for a variety of reasons. It might be about where their friends are, a close connection to that church’s youth leader, or something else. Whatever the reason, it is a way for teens to find a space where they feel like they belong to the body of Christ. In the vast majority of cases, the leaders of the groups receiving these kids are happy to have them.
Youth group is only one part of a multidimensional approach to youth ministry. There are—or at least should be—many other ways for youth to connect to their home church and their congregation. These can be programmatic, such as a Sunday school class, or casual: conversations over a meal, in the back of church, or even in the parking lot. So if a teen attends another church’s youth group, there are other places where they and adults in their home congregation can interact and build relationships. Find a time to talk to the leader of the other youth group so you can be on the same page in supporting your child’s faith and rejoice that your kids have found a place where their faith can be supported and encouraged.
If a church’s ministry to teens consists only of youth group meetings, then that is probably a bigger issue. The ultimate goal is not for kids to go to youth groups; it is for the teens to be lifelong Christ followers and church attenders. This has more to do with parents modeling a commitment to their faith and to church attendance than with their teen’s attendance in a youth group. (We’ve often wondered if teens sometimes build more commitment to their youth group than to their church, which can leave them without a church home after high school.)
So encourage your teens to keep up their connections to their home church. A church is one of the few places in today's culture that puts unrelated adults into contact with kids from birth to adulthood. The deep relationships formed with adults in the church they grow up in can remain for many years.