The ’90s were an incredible time to grow up, especially if you happened to be a regular church youth group attender. Not only were you among the generation that got to experience such cultural touchstones like JNCOs, POGS and the mind-bending illusions of Magic Eye, but your world also consisted of WWJD bracelets, Carman music videos and low-budget films about the apocalypse.
It was magical time to be alive.
You know who you are, ’90s youth group kid. Here’s a look back 13 things you most definitely owned.
A Shirt Bearing the Name of Your Youth Group
Official T-Shirt of the Summer ’97 Youth Retreat
Some Old ‘McGee and Me’ VHS Tapes
Because you’re never too old for some comical, biblically sound coming-of-age lessons.
This is was an extremely popular topic among Christian adolescents, necessitating entire lines of books, Bibles and apparel about true love waiting, kissing dating goodbye and every young man’s battle. The theme can also be found in some truly unforgettable Christian pop-songs solely devoted to convincing young listeners not to have sex.
A Collection of Christian Punk Rock and Ska Albums
If you were a youth group kid in the ’90s, bands like MXPX, The Supertones, Five Iron Frenzy and Ghoti Hook will always hold a special place in your heart.
A Secret Stash of ‘Secular’ Music
Enough time has passed that you can now admit to your parents about that shoebox under the bed with all of your Green Day and Pearl Jam tapes.
A T-Shirt with an Appropriated Logo
Abreadcrumb & Fish. A Coca Cola logo turned into a Jesus Christ signature. A Starbucks emblem featuring the mermaid morphed into God. There is almost no logo that creative T-shirt sellers couldn’t transform into a proclamation of religious devotion and total disregard for trademark infringement law.
A T-Shirt Bearing the Name of Your Mission Team
How else will people know who the missionaries are?
Some Exotic Artifact Purchased on the Mission Field
Every member of a “short-term mission team” had to return with some unique item from their travels to the far ends of the earth, like refrigerator magnet or a snowglobe.
A Collection of Christian End-Times Fiction
The Left Behind series sold 65 million copies. By our estimation, at least 54 million of those were to youth group kids in the ’90s.
A Black T-Shirt for ‘Human Video’ Routines
If you were ever involved in any sort of youth ministry, than these mimed, evangelistic performances set to some CCM song were just a normal part of adolescent life.
An Acoustic Guitar
It was a common practice for many youth groups to hand out chord charts to “In the Secret” to all new members.
Sun In’d Hair
Like frosted tips, “Sun In” bleached hair was pervasive throughout ’90s teen culture, but was tragically especially prevalent in youth groups across the country.
Some ‘Adventures in Odyssey’ Audio Tapes from Simpler Times
Even as a cool ska-listening teen, it was hard to part with your collection of life-lesson audio adventures.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.