In case you missed it, here is my guest blog over at The Middle Years Ministry. Check it out!
REAL Solution. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of books, articles, and social media posts that just surmise an issue with this current generation and the church. I’m tired of reading about the problems, and I was refreshed to read in this book – REAL and REACHABLE solutions to the issues of growing young. A heartfelt thank you to the all the work the writers put into this.
Dedicated Research. This was hard work to put this together. It was a clear dedication of the writers and research team to not leave a stone unturned. They went to the small churches to the megas, and found answers to the growing young question. That is something the reader will appreciate.
REAL Testimonies. These aren’t just ideas. These are real people who have been affected by churches that have intentionally reached out to this generation in their church. The testimonies were not just glossed-over stories from pastors, but from people inside the church who have benefited and lived out the ministry changes and direction.
Nope, nope, nope. There was one quote that made me quote Petrie on Land Before Time and say “Oh, no no no no”. “We wonder if sermon preparation and preaching is an area in which some leaders could invest less time”. While they did give this quote with the caveat of holding God’s Word at the “highest value”, it still is a dangerous statement.
The Random Boxes. This is a minor complaint, but it seemed to break the flow of the chapter when a box of random information was placed in the middle of a chapter. Suggest maybe placing this in the context of the chapter or at the end.
The Grade: A. I tell ya what this book did. Honestly, it gave me great encouragement that my philosophy of ministry was on the right track with this generation. On the flip side, it challenged me immensely in the weakness of my own ministry in reaching this generation. That is what this book will do to you, encourage and challenge you and your ministry.
Some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way in partnering with parents. Hope you find this podcast helpful in your student ministry.
Hard to believe…10 years of Youth Ministry. Praise the Lord for his grace, for the patience of teens and their parents, and the countless times God has brought strength to my weakness.
And get this…my article on the 10 Lessons Learned from 10 Years in Ministry has been published by Youth Specialties. Go check it out and be encouraged.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE.
Last week, I wrote on the importance of being on the same team as the parents in your youth ministry. I cannot overstate how critical it is to have a parental connection and partnership within your student ministry. The trust and credibility you build with parents will only bring value and growth. Parents will provide the support you need in various ways and you will be able to provide valuable insight and encouragement to their parenting journey.
Today, I’d like to share with you one practical method of getting parents on your team. It’s not a trick or an ulterior motive ploy. On the contrary, you hopefully have the same heart as the parents, and that is to see their child grow in their relationship with the Lord and reach their full potential of using their God-given abilities and gifts.
One way that happens is through Parent/Pastor Conferences. You heard me. Why can’t teachers have all the fun with parent/teacher conferences. After all, aren’t youth pastors/workers/leaders also teaching their children valuable material (the most valuable actually) and need to give progress updates to the parents and find ways we can work together at church and home to allow the student to achieve continued spiritual growth? In actuality, this meeting has more significance (no offense teachers, you are most appreciated), but not because of the teacher’s place in the student’s life, but because the church teaches about that which is eternal.Shouldn’t parents and pastors sit down and discuss ways they can partner with each other to allow the teenager to fight temptation, grow in their spiritual disciplines and gifts, and experience spiritual growth. I can hear you scream YES from here! So how is this done? I’m glad you asked.
That’s it. 5 steps to conducting a parent/pastor conference. Just another way to get parents on your team. You will be pleasantly surprised at the value this provides in your personal ministry to teens, and in your relationships with parents. Trust, encouragement, direction, blessing, and counsel all happens in 30 minutes. Give is a try, and get on the same team with those parents.
All this discussion about football & the National Anthem, I thought I’d find some comparisons to football and youth ministry. It’s very common for a rookie in football to make…well, rookie mistakes. A poorly thrown interception, a missed assignment, or a blown play. The classic rookie mistake for a youth pastor is to neglect the parents. Some young or inexperienced youth pastors might even go as far as to see parents as a hindrance or an enemy to their progress in ministry. Not so!
My ministry philosophy is based on Deuteronomy 6:5-7. The youth pastor needs to be the assistant coach to the head coach, the parents. “The responsibility for raising spiritual champions, according to the Bible, belongs to the parents…the responsibility is squarely laid at the feet of the family. This is not a job for specialists. It is a job for parents.” (George Barna, Revolutionary Parenting).
The goal of the youth pastor and his ministry team is to be an assistant coach to the head coaches, the parents. It is the parents’ responsibility to raise the children, and the youth ministry should assist with that goal in various ways. This assistance occurs through the teaching of God’s Word, spiritual counsel and encouragement, and prayer.
Alongside those essential spiritual actions, there are practical aspects that need to be brought to the table. A good assistance coach will help in-game planning, go to the coach when they see a player struggling or injured, and help inform the coach where they lack the knowledge. Youth ministry is no different. The youth ministry team should help the parents game plan. In other words, they should help them develop the spiritual goals for their child and allow the programs and teachings to aid in reaching those goals. Also, it is imperative for the youth ministry to go to the parents when a student is struggling spiritually. There will be times when behavior is inappropriate, words throw up red flags, or things are said in small groups where the parents need to be made aware. Then, the youth pastor can aid in the recovery process. Lastly, there needs to be parent meetings that include youth culture updates, upcoming event information, discussion/advice from other parents and other essential communication that will act as support in the parenting process. After all, it is the responsibility of the coach for the team’s behavior, but the assistant coach has a vested interest in the outcome of the game.
You want to get parents on your team? Make sure you are on their team first.
Stay tuned for next week – a practical way to get parents on your team that will only take about 30 minutes of your time.
Think back to that person that invested in you. Where would you be without those late night conversations, the advice over a milkshake, or the shoulder to cry on.
Take this man named Myron. An ordinary guy who decided to invest in the next generation. And now, while in the midst of a difficult time, he is reaping the reward of all those hours spent helping young people.
Every 4 years in our youth group, we host an Olympic Games. Before you think this is just an athletic competition, check this out. This weekend is for everyone and each person on the team can contribute and have a great time.
Below is the schedule & events. Enjoy!
Leaders arrive: Set-up – Gym Games, Tables setup for eating
Students Arrive & Dinner Served
Gym Games Begin: Around-the-World Ping Pong, Basketball Knockout, Finders Keepers
Devotional (short, but gospel-driven) – Next Week – FREE Olympic devotional on the blog
Instructions/Sign-ups for Water Games: Teams sign up for water games quickly. Instruct teens about NO Horseplay. Respect of property, listen to lifeguard, no dunking underwater. Safety.
Arrival at Pool (YMCA does pool rentals) & Change into Suits
Begin Water Games
Parents pick up at Church
Optional: Sunday/Youth Night – Do a Game Show/Quiz Night for Final Competition & Prizes (Encourages visitors and those attending Olympics to come back!)
Another year and more goals for the Lord to accomplish! It’s great to look forward to another year of serving in youth ministry and another year of God doing amazing things. This is just the tip of the iceberg…because I know God will do so much more. But still, it’s always good to put goals out there to aim at as the Lord directs our shots.