Parents: the ultimate youth ministers

Parents: the ultimate youth ministers

“My biggest frustration in youth ministry was that I could never seem to spend enough time with the youth to effect lasting change. The best and the brightest students I had for three or four hours a week. Many of the students I had for only an hour each month. ‘If only I could be around them more!’–that was what I kept thinking. So I coached, I taught, I tutored, just to spend more time with the youth. Then I became a parent, and I realized that God had already designed a way around this problem of not having enough time with students to be the catalyst for change in their lives. That role wasn’t mine in the first place. It belonged to their dads and moms.”
-Josh Remy
from Family Ministry Field Guide

Family Ministry Field Guide

Family Ministry Field Guide

During this interim (read unemployed) time I have been doing a great deal of praying and thinking about ministry. One of the things that I keep coming back to is the notion of family based student ministry. A few weeks ago I was sitting in church and had this thought

As a youth pastor I spend a great deal of effort trying to help students from broken homes. Why not put some of that effort towards fixing broken homes, or helping them not to become broken. 

That thought has been running through my head now along with several others. One of the things that I love about Lifeway and writing for the KNOWN curriculum from time to time is their understanding that parents are vital to student ministry. The primary spiritual caregiver of a student is the parent. That is their Biblical role and it is against the ordained plan of God if the church steps in and tries to take over that role.

Anyway, I could ramble on about ministry to parents for a while. This is a realization that has been building in me for some time, but only just recently has gelled into a complete thought and mindset change. In the future I will be talking more about ways to help parents to be invested in the spiritual lives of their students (I love the thought of parent/child mission trips for starters) but like I said this is all just starting to come together in my head.

So with that stuff moving around in my mind and some free time on my hands I went to the local Lifeway store looking for a book on Children’s ministry. The first thing that jumped out at me with this book Family Ministry Field Guide. I was intrigued by the title and blown away after looking at just a few pages. I am just a couple of chapter in, and I am already learning a great deal.

But the whole point of this entry was to give a quote from the foreword by Mark DeVries. Speaking about his church and the changes that they have made towards a family based approached to ministry he said,

“What we did get right was the almost magical alchemy of a church that empowers parents and stands in the gap when they don’t feel so powerful.”

What a great idea. That is the type of student ministry (to both children and youth) that I want to be a part of–one that empowers parents and helps them when they don’t feel powerful. I want to be a part of a ministry that helps parents take on the mantle of spiritual leaders without adding one more meeting or another pile of guilt or shame on top of their shoulders.

I am still early in my family ministry journey, so keep checking back for the next few weeks and months as I share where God is leading me.