Tag Archives: Youth Culture

6 Steps to Parent Meeting Success

If you haven’t figured it out yet, parents are important to your success in youth ministry or student ministry. And by success, I mean the spiritual growth, depth, and love for the Savior in the teens in your youth group. I say that, because you can grow your youth group by numbers without the aid of parents, whether it is by heavy programming or giving away an iPhone for answering a question in Sunday school.parent_meeting_dribbble-1innh9r

But if you are seeking spiritual depth, if you are seeking a faith in your students that lasts beyond their high school years, if you are seeking a unity and health within your church…you must lock arms with your parents into battle. Teenagers are facing tremendous battles like the negatives of social media (gossip, cyber-bullying, self-centeredness), sexual pressures that happen everywhere from the office chair in front of a computer to taking the next step in a physical relationship, stress for academic achievement, loneliness & abandonment…and the list goes on. Why would you not want another ally in youth ministry? It would be like an Army General being offered 25,000 more troops to help in a war effort and saying, “Nah, I can handle this on my own. I’ve got the training and experience, let me handle it”. It’s ludicrous. But this is happening all across the nation in youth ministries. Stop blaming the youth ministry for the exodus of young people, and take a look at the failure of combining the efforts of youth ministry and parents. That right there is a winning formula for a teenager.

Maybe it will take some more convincing. Maybe you have been burned in the past by parents. Well, even if you confidence needs rebuilding or your skepticism remains, I’d encourage you to give these steps and see how God can use parent meetings to build a healthier youth ministry.

Step #1 – Support Group

Your first goal is to communicate the parent meeting is FOR the parents. It should be obvious that a parent meeting is for…well…parents. But make sure you arrange the meeting to be something the parents enjoy and more importantly, need. Your attendance at parent meetings will always be a struggle, but if it is something that will benefit the parents, they will come.

One specific way is to arrange the room in tables. And following the meeting, explain you’d like the parents to pray for each other. Discuss how each of them are in the same battle, teenage-dom. And you may gain advice and counsel from other parents, but most important can pray for each other. This has been my favorite part of parent meetings. I’ve seen parents talking to each other long after prayer is over, and truly helping each other, life on life. It’s a beautiful thing.

Step #2 – Equip

Come prepared to teach the parents. Sure, the typical youth leader is younger and may not have teenagers of their own, but that doesn’t mean they cannot teach on parenting teenagers. Why? Because there is book that has the authority over all parents, and no one will argue with its content. It’s called the Bible. Other resources: The Seven Checkpoints (Stanley), Raising a Modern Day Joseph (Fowler), Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Tripp).

Step #3 – Youth Culture Update

This is really fun. Come up with a quiz of 10 questions about teen culture. CPYU.org is a great resource for articles and information for these culture quizzes. Plus, when you give away answers, you can give valuable insight on the question. Questions about drugs, social media habits, teens & driving, or academic trends are all good places to start. So much value in keeping your parents clued in on teen culture, and it will give you tremendous credibility, showing you do know things about teenager that parents do not.

Step #4 – Fill the Calendar Later

Many times, we as youth leaders make the mistake of making the parent meeting all about events, programs, and filling the calendar. Sure, there still should be a place for that. But email, calendars, and newsletter can provide that information just as easy. So why waste time in the parent meeting with information about events. Put this information in front of the parents, but talk more about the purpose during these meetings, rather than just dates, times, and permission forms.

world-war-3Step #5 – Prevent World War III

This may be the most important step, so are you listening? DO NOT ask for questions during the meeting. You are inviting disaster. When you open the floor, you are opening it up for criticism, questioning of programs, and you are put on the spot. Rather, make it clear at the end of the meeting you are available to chat afterwards, or the parents can email, text, or call with any questions they may have. This will save you. Trust me on this one.

Step #6 – Food & Childcare

Eliminate the excuses. Provide food and childcare, and you have eliminated 90% of the excuses right there. Plus, everyone likes to eat. So have your leaders help with planning a meal and helping with childcare, and more parents will attend.
Resources: Family-Based Youth Ministry (DeVries), Pushing the Limits (Walker, Calhoun), reThink (Wright)

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Book Review: Inter-Generational Youth Ministry

Book Review:  Inter-Generational Youth Ministry by Mel Walker

The Good: 

Intergenerational Cover FinalThose in youth ministry are up to our ears in statistics of high school and young adults leaving the church. True, statistics tell a story, and are valuable in evaluating cultural trends. However, statistics are like a home run hitter that only hits home runs when no one is on base. It is helpful, but it will rarely give your team the win. Statistics are helpful, but they rarely get results. That is, unless you couple those statistics with solutions. When you provide solutions, you have a book worth reading.

This book begins with a youth culture history lesson. It was fascinating, and set up the rest of the book perfectly. In fact, I found it so helpful, I used much of the material in my message at the teen/senior citizen luncheon. It was a perfect tie in of generations. Basically, I gave the history of youth ministry, the current state of youth ministry, and what you as the elder generation can do to help.

In the following chapters, each ministry of the church is dissected and examined. From children’s ministry to the senior saints, the evaluation of the current church models were scrutinized respectfully, and given helpful solutions to issues that exist in churches across the nation.

As a reader of scores of youth ministry books, what separates the good from the bad is the “how”. Sure, anyone can observe and articulate the problems that exist in youth ministry. Anyone can verbalize problems like a popular news network. But what makes this a good youth ministry book, is it provides the “how”. Each chapter includes multiple, practical steps to implement the solution to the existing issues. In addition to the how, each solution is accompanied with Biblical support. What a combo! So, when you as a youth worker, youth pastor, church staff member, parent, or church member begin to employ some of these solutions in your church and inevitably get the “why” question. You now have practical reasons and Biblical reasons for the changes and new ministry practices you are implementing in your church. That’s what I call armed and dangerous…OK, maybe I should stick with practical and Biblical.

The Bad:

Frankly, it was difficult to find the bad in this book (you will see why when I give out the grade), but there was one thing. On occasion, there is a repetition of illustrations or concepts. Some of this, I realize, was done for emphasis of certain points. However, there were other idioms or illustrations that were repeated, and could have used some more originality.

The Grade: A

This book is a MUST READ for all those involved in the church. Notice I did not just say those involved in youth ministry. This is an all-hands-on-deck experience. This is a total church makeover that is worth a look. These concepts and ideas have been part of my ministry philosophy for years, and for someone to write down specific ways to implement them, it is like long-lost friends being reunited.

Not only is this book immensely practical and useful, but as was mentioned before, it is Biblical. Without the Biblical support, you could get excited about new ministry ideals, but they would have no weight, no substance, and fade away like a passing fad. The Bible’s eternal principles are worth exploring, and are priceless when a writer can articulate those in your context, and flesh our practical ways to accomplish those principles.

Honestly, this was one of my favorite youth ministry books I have read. It deserves to be put into practice in your ministry today. It’s time we do something about the problems of our young people leaving the church, instead of just pointing out the problem. This book will give you solutions, and step-by-step instructions to putting those solutions to work.

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3 Ways to Stay In Touch (with youth culture), Part 2

Last week, you read 3 tips on how to stay in touch with teenage or youth culture.  I gave you a few ideas on where to get the information, but how do you get the word out?  Print out a page handout of the onlineslangdictionary.com and hand it out each Sunday?  That may be a start.  Here are some better tips on how to communicate or make that information available on a regular basis.

  1. Parent Meetings – Every parent meeting I have (I wish I had more, feel free to tell me how you are able to have them on regular basis), I include a time of updating the parents through a youth culture update.   Try to make it interesting, do a PowerPoint, have a quiz with a prize, show a short clip, etc.
  2. Youth Culture Updates – Except during holiday weeks and maybe a break in the summer, I try to have a youth culture update as a part of my weekly email.  It is something to draw them to the email each week and gives parent some equipping and knowledge that they may desire.  (Information typically comes from www.cpyu.org newsletters)
  3. Parent Seminars – Pray for me, I’m attempting my first at my new church.  In the past, these have been well attended and prove to be worth your time.  Parents want to know what is going on in their student’s lives.  So feed them with knowledge, and equip them with God’s Word in applying that knowledge in parenting.
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3 Ways to Stay In Touch (with youth culture), Part 1

What’s that noise?  It’s you getting older, and you getting less in touch with teen/youth culture.  Sorry for the zinger, but with each day that passes, you realize teenagers aren’t watching Saved by the Bell or Boy Meets World anymore (or at least until the new series comes out)  Face it, guys don’t part their hair down the middle and listen to grunge music, and girls don’t have a “Rachel” haircut and chat all night on Instant Messenger.

So, what are teenagers like today?  How do stay in touch with teen culture?

Here are 3 ways:

  1. TALK TO THEM!  Find out what they like, don’t like, listen to, do in their spare time…etc.  Be a mentor, a friend, a spiritual guide, a positive adult influence that will help them be more like Jesus.
  2. Youth Culture Updates – Subscribe to newsletters like www.CPYU.org.  Be a regular reader on websites like www.focusonthefamily.org or www.connectwithkids.com.
  3. Youth Pastor – If you are a youth pastor, then it is part of your job to stay up on these things.  So do the research and get the information to the parents.  If you are a parent, ask your youth pastor to make the youth culture information available.

(Stay tuned for next week’s part 2, for 3 more tips to stay in touch)

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10 Teen Culture Thoughts & Statistics…How well do you know the Younger Generation?

  1. God made you special, right?  In the United States, nearly 219,000 cosmetic plastic-surgery procedures were performed on teens aged 13 to 19 in 2010, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
  2. PLZ STP TXTING In 2010, more than 3,000 people died in crashes attributed to distraction-related causes — roughly 10 percent of all fatalities on the road, according to the federal Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  3. Generation Confused?  New nationally representative survey of 1,029 people ages 18-29 suggests. Almost 60% say “adulthood will be more enjoyable than my life is now.”
  4. Time to leave the Nest – 18-29 year olds – 52% have daily or almost daily contact with parents via text, e-mail, phone or in person, and 16% do “frequently,” 16% regularly; and 31% occasionally get financial support.
  5. I have a feeling it is more than this in 2012 – In 2010, U.S. adolescents spent an average of 8.5 hours per day interacting with digital devices.
  6. I love technology.  The pace of [technology] “penetration” (i.e., the amount of time it takes for a new technology to be used by 50 million people) is unprecedented. For radio, technological penetration took 38 years; for telephone, 20 years; for television (TV), 13 years; for the World Wide Web, 4 years; for Facebook, 3.6 years; for Twitter, 3 years; for iPads, 2 years; and for Google_, 88 days.
  7. Yikes!  Eric Anderman, a professor of educational psychology at Ohio State University, has studied student cheating. He says that while it’s hard to nail down statistics on its prevalence, the best estimate is that up to 85 percent of high school students have cheated at least once.
  8. Solution:  Don’t allow under age drinking!  “Many studies have found relationships between an early AFD (Age of First Drink) and a range of negative alcohol-related outcomes later in life, including the development of alcohol use disorders, legal problems like DUI, and health problems like cirrhosis of the liver,” said Meghan Rabbitt Morean, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine
  9. Not surprising – 64 percent, cited YouTube, the Web’s leading video-sharing site, as a place where they listen to music. Followed by radio (56%), iTunes (53% ) and CDs (50%).
  10. Might wanna check on your kid in the summer – On an average day in June or July, more than 4,800 youths used marijuana for the first time, whereas the daily average ranged from about 3,000 to 4,000 in other months

And for a quick culture update on your graduating seniors each year, check out this list

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Youth Culture Update

  1. Teens would rather give up their sense of smell than not have their social networking sites. (53% said yes!)  Can’t wait to hear the result of hearing loss vs. texting…could be close.
  2. Teens would rather have Facebook than access to a car (56% agree with this).  Ever heard of Bluetooth?
  3. What do actresses and teen internet users have in common?  Half of them lie about their age.
  4. Modern Warfare 3 reached sales of 1 billion faster than any entertainment of all time…see ya Avatar.
  5. A recent survey of teens showed that 7.3% had experienced multi-person sexual activity.  This breaks my heart!  We need to talk to our teens about purity, both practically & spiritually!
  6. Take a look at the common topics on girl’s blogs/social network sites:  BoysSchoolMusicBooksTVMoviesClothesBulliesBeautyWeightFriendsParentsChangingtheWorldNewsCelebritiesGames/GamingSportsShopping“ME”.  Moral of the story:  We need to add Jesus to this list.
  7. 72% of households play video games.  How many of these households hold family devotions?  How many of these parents need our encouragement?
  8. 88% of teens have witness bullying on the internet.
  9. MTV…well just read this article and let your jaw drop – http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/publications/reports/MTV-RealityStudy/MTVRealityStudy_Dec11.pdf
  10. We need to pray for our teens!

(Note:  Many of these articles came from the CPYU youth culture e-update.  If you are not signed up for it, it is a must for anyone in student ministry or parent of a teenager – sign up here)

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