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Christianity --Youth Issues/Had to leave church youth group due to breakup

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Hi, carl,
I was going to a church for about 2 years and made many friends there.

Recently, I went through a bad breakup with a girl I met in the youth group and couldn't bear the stress of running into her at church and staying in the same small group (we would meet weekly in a group of 6 before worship service). During our relationship, I said things to her that hurt her and drover her away, and she also seemed to have feelings for another boy in the youth group so I really wanted to keep my distance because it would cause me distress just seeing her.

I abruptly told the group (over an email ... which I regret) that I will be leaving the group due to personal reasons. And I feel really bad about it. I did it so abruptly just to get away from it all, and now I miss all my friends, and I feel very ashamed of doing what I did. I had my reasons for getting away from it all ... and it probably was best due to our recent breakup but ... I'm not sure about how to go back and face those old friends in the group. I am considering joining a new youth group in the church but I also feel like I might come across as "betraying" the old group. It sounds trivial now that I have it in writing but ... I just feel like I let them down over a silly relationship breakup and now I basically ostracized myself from my old friends. I am ashamed to show my face around worship on Sundays.  

How can I deal with a social situation like this?

Answer
James-

Thanks for writing.  First off, I should tell you that you screwed up by leaving the group, but I won't dwell on that, I think you already know it.  This is a perfect example of why youth leaders frown on dating within a group.  

I don't understand the structure of your church, but I'll try.  You have one large youth group and several small groups?  Do others leave and join other groups like you're suggesting?  If that's been done before, I think I'd try that.  If it's not been done before, don't you be the one to set the precedent.

Also, you need to apologize to the group and ask for mercy, especially if you'd like to return to them.  Even if you don't, you should apologize and tell them you want to join another group and get their permission.  I think (and hope) you'll find them willing to take you back.

Finally, you need to talk to your youth leader and have him give his advice before you make your next decisions.

Hope this helps.  We all screw up once in a while, forgive yourself first.

Blessings,

Carl  

Christianity --Youth Issues

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Carl F.

Expertise

I can answer questions from teens & young adults concerning their faith walk and on social issues which affect their lives. I can answer questions on sex, homosexuality, or drugs, and anything else that might be troubling you. After 30 years in youth ministry, nothing shocks me, and I promise to give straight answers to any and all questions. I can also answer questions from youth workers on problems they`re having with programming or with their groups.

Experience

I have been involved in youth and young adult ministries as a volunteer for over 35 years. I am currently a volunteer youth minister in a suburban UM church - I have a small group of 7th and 8th graders.

Organizations
United Methodist Church, Chrysalis, Walk to Emmaus, Cursillo

Education/Credentials
Several training seminars, 9 years at National Youth Workers Convention, 1 year at Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry

Awards and Honors
Certified lay speaker for UM Church

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