Tribes youth group builds community and grows empathy


Madison Socol

Ryan Green and Alexandra Spoelker pushing through their soccer and dance practice with the motivation of God

Tribes, a local youth group at Rivers Crossing, motivates local high schoolers emotionally and mentally every Wednesday in their small talk meetings. 

“Tribes has really impacted me because it makes me feel comfortable towards my peers. The speakers are super empathetic, we also get to talk in our small groups with people our age so it’s a very trusting environment,” Alexandra Spoelker said.

Small groups in Tribes allow high schoolers to open up about what currently bothers them or even the personal accomplishments they want to celebrate. Students, like Spoelker, surround themselves with a trusted group of leaders that helps them feel more comfortable.

“There was a time when Joel, our small talk leader at Tribes, was talking, it’s hard to dust off the cobwebs. He was talking about how God is going to take you through tough seasons. He said he was in one of the worst seasons in his life and it gave me hope,” said Spoelker.

During worship, Spoelker relates to the problems of others, feeling hope as Tribes’ leaders showed everyone that they’re not alone.

“Ethan, a small talk leader, talked about how he was lost and didn’t know what he was doing in life. But once he started going to Tribes, he got himself straight,” Spoelker said.

Motivational speakers share stories with high school students to create a very trusted environment for teens to open up about how they feel.

“Tribes has impacted my life tremendously. It has opened my eyes to so many things about the Christian life,” Ryan Green said.

Sometimes the teens who attend Tribes struggle with their home lives and friends.They talk to small group leaders like Joel Montgomery to confess, then they receive prayer and pray themselves in hopes that things come together for them.

“I always feel inspired during worship. All of us coming together as one big family to worship our one God is truly moving to experience,” Green said.

Approximately two to three motivation speeches are given in one night. Teenagers who attend Tribes describe these events as “touching,” or “unreal,” due to the fact of how the speeches impact each person. 

“My eyes have been opened to understand how much we all struggle as believers and how to be there for each other like a family,” Green said.