My friend Brando Reed posted this the other day on his blog (http://brandonreed.wordpress.com/) …great thoughts…
My friend and colleague in student ministry was telling some other pastors around a conference table just the other day that his father prayed with him only one time outside of praying with him around the dinner table. Being in student ministry, I have seen more parents shirking their God given responsibility of “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Because of the lack of moms and dads fulfilling the responsibility and calling of parents, many parents turn to the Youth Pastor at the local church to “fix” their teenager, or to provide opportunities and events that “shelter” their student, leaving the responsibility of teaching and training their children Scripture to the youth pastor. This couldn’t be a more un-Biblical issue that many Youth Pastors face and embrace.
First, student pastors embrace this because many student pastors see parents as a threat to good student ministry. How could this possibly be Biblically sound thinking? In talking with other student pastors, or as some would rather be effectually called “The Youth Guy,” I have heard over and over again; “If it weren’t for the parents, student ministry would be a lot easier.” Really?? Student pastors regularly embrace the idea that more sweet programs or events will bring more kids to church, and the whole time, parents sit back and applaud. That is, until their student messes up at school, or at a party or even with a member of the opposite sex.
Problems in student ministry arise when student pastors and churches embrace the idea that they should keep parents at a distance.
“To have a biblical framework for student ministry, we must shift our ministry framework to match the emphases the Bible places on the family and the church” (Steve Wright, ReThink, Inquest Publishing). We must see that the primary responsibility of discipleship and training in righteousness to the family.
“Hear, O Isreal: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, ESV).
Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord“ (Ephesians 6:4, ESV). A list of verses for you to look at: Psalm 78:1-7, Proverbs 1:8-9, Malachi 4:6, Luke 1:17, Proverbs 22:6, Psalm 127:1-4, Proverbs 4:1-11, Colossians 3:20-21, 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12. “The responsibility for raising spiritual champions, according to the Bible, belongs to the parents. This is not a job for specialists. It is a job for parents” (George Barna, Revolutionary Parenting, Tyndale).
Youth Pastors, quit pushing parents away and quit doing what God has not called you to do. Point parents who have troubled teens or teens that are struggling to Scripture. Challenge them to have a time of family worship which they can pray together, study God’s word together, and grow together.
Parents, quit looking to other people to fix your children. Start fulfilling God’s call on your life. It is your responsibility to train your children. You cannot change your child or fix their condition of sinning (Eph 2:1, Romans 3:10-12). Begin leading them to the cross and pointing them to Jesus, “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Great thoughts, we have to be a partner with parents. We have to come along side of them and give them some tools to use as they invest in their kids. Sure we will also minister to kids who have horrible homes but we can not fail to invest in those who spend the most time with them kids, the parents. The reason we podcast all our messages at relevant is so that a mom or dad can join us in the discussion! It just works when we partner with parents and support them. Great writing B!