I grabbed my issue of Group Magazine yesterday and read it cover to cover for the first time in a long time (thank you, electrical outage). Each issue has a Top 10 list – and this issue was Top 10 Things Youth Pastors Wish They Heard from Parents. It got me thinking… (smell the smoke)?
Parents hear a lot of stuff from youth workers….sometimes junk they wish they hadn’t heard! Here are ten things I bet parents wish they heard from youth pastors:
10. Your kid is awesome – you’re doing a great job with him!
9. Parenting is tough. I don’t know how you do it!
8. They grow out of more than their clothes. Don’t worry – this will pass.
7. What can I do for you?
6. Your kid said something great about you last night and I wanted you to know.
5. I know things have been tough. Here’s a scholarship for our next event.
4. I read this Bible verse and thought of you. (Just make sure it isn’t ‘Jesus wept’ or something equally ‘communicative’.)
3. We’d love to have your family over for dinner this week. How’s Tuesday look for you?
2. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of speaking into your family’s life.
1. Can I pray for you? (And then, actually pray for them….right then.)
I have heard a few of these things from our youth pastor. I have said a few of these things as the youth pastor. What would you add to the list?
I write a column for Group Magazine called The Youth Ministry Drill Sergeant. Sometimes, I’m known for shooting straight – plain talk – ‘telling it like it is.’ :) Today will be one of those days. Inspired by a friend of mine (you’ll hear from him tomorrow), I’m throwing out three ‘gems’ of wisdom – straight talk for the new youth pastor.
1. Parents are not your problem. You are. Stop viewing parents as the enemy. They are the most important spiritual force a student will ever have. If you marginalize them – you marginalize the student. Build some bridges. Make an effort – even if they don’t.
2. Don’t spend more time on programming than you do relationships and Bible study. It makes your ministry a mile wide and an inch deep (and it might make YOU that, too.) It’s a slippery slope – so pay attention to where your best efforts are being funneled.
3. Your age is relative and does NOT make your more relatable to students. What helps students relate to adults is care – concern – love – investment. You will be old some day – and unless you’re using youth ministry as a stepping stone, you better hope your age isn’t the only thing you have going for you. Use various age groups for leadership in your ministry – just make sure they all love God and love teenagers. That’s what makes them relevant in the life of teenagers.
More straight talk tomorrow….this message brought to you by your friendly neighborhood drill sergeant.