A Parent/Teen Disciple Now

The “Disciple Now” event is a staple of youth ministry. It may have a different name in different places, but the basic idea is this: You find a speaker, a worship leader, and a bunch of houses that the kids can crash in for the weekend. You probably want to grab some in home Bible study leaders too, but sometimes those are optional.

This year we are doing the church’s annual DNOW event (I say the church’s because this is my first year at this church) and the more I prayed about it the more I felt like God was telling us to take this in a different direction. So this year our DNOW is a teen and their parents event.

The idea so far has gotten mixed reviews from both parents and teenagers. The teenagers don’t want their parents around and the parents don’t want to be around when they could be free of their teenager for a weekend.

But I kept feeling like this is something that we need as a ministry, as a church, and as families. In youth ministry so many of the spiritual touchstones in our student’s lives are done away from their parents. In our church the students all sit together in the front of the church on Sunday morning, have their own Bible study on Sunday night and their own worship time on Wednesday night. They go to camp and a retreat and have a DNOW all away from every adult other than the few parents who go to chaperone events.

So this weekend for us is an attempt to create an opportunity for students and their parents to worship together, play together, serve together and just basically be together at church. It is my prayer that it will open up some real dialog between parents and their teenagers. It is still 2 weeks away, I will give a full report when it is finished.

Here’s a bit of an overview of the non-standard stuff:

  • Students will go to host homes, parents will go to their own homes
  • Friday night we are having a “Nerf Dart War” because our theme is Dangerous prayers. Parents will be participating.
  • On Saturday we will be doing several different service projects. These will be teams of family members (with some additional students in each). Some of these will be service oriented stuff. Some of them will involve making things to take to their neighbors and teachers.
  • On Saturday evening, before the worship time we are doing a parent/teen discussion time. It is an idea that I got from a Richard Ross seminar long ago. We are going to create “families” of adults and teenagers that are not related to each other. We are then going to discuss topics about parenting and family life. Sometimes these issues are easier to talk about with people who aren’t in your own family because there is less baggage attached. It should be a positive experience for adults and teenagers.

4 thoughts on “A Parent/Teen Disciple Now

  • May 30, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    I like the idea. How did it turn out?

  • May 30, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    It turned out well. I think there was some communication issues because many of the parents didn’t know what was expected of them, but it was a fun weekend. We had decent participation through many of the events and amazing participation for the parent/teen round table discussion thing. Both parents and teens enjoyed talking about important issues.

    Like I said, I think it was communication issue that kept parents from being involved as much as I would have liked, but all in all it was a positive experience.

    • October 26, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      How did you facilitate the parent discussion, what were some of the topics?

      • October 27, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        About 100 years ago I went to a youth training thing with Richard Ross and this was an idea that he taught us.

        First I had all of the students write on an index card 3 questions they would like to ask parents.
        At the same time I had parents writing 3 questions they would like to ask teens.
        Then I took up the cards and kept them in separate piles.
        Then we made a line of dad, a line of moms, and two lines of students and stood them side by side (like we were about to run a relay race)
        Then we took the first row of people (1 dad, 1 mom, and 2 students) and made a substitute family.
        These substitute families couldn’t have anyone from the same real family in them.
        The substitute families grabbed some chairs and sat in circles around the room.
        We did have a couple of 2 mom families and about four families with 3 students instead of 2.

        After the substitute families were formed I would ask a question from the teenagers that the parents would have to answer in their group.
        Then I would ask one of the questions that the parents had asked and written on their cards and the teenagers had to answer.

        I would read a few questions ahead and weed out the duplicates and try to find the best ones. I would also alternate between really serious subjects and lighter ones just to make the night flow a little better.

        It worked very well and let both parents and youth understand the other side a little better.


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