ORANGE WEEK is here and for the first few days I am going to talk about the RED (family) side of the the Orange Strategy. When a ministry decides they are going orange they make the choice to not only to create amazing environments in their church for kids and teens, but they work to partner with the families they serve. Thinking orange is a choice and any church of any size can start this journey. For those of us who lead youth ministries the hardest part of the process is the red side of the equation. By the time students reach our ministry we see up close the power of the family in both good and bad ways. Most of the time the parents we serve are asking us to fix or entertain their teenage son or daughter. We design our ministry to reach as many teens as possible and hope it is enough. What if we could do more than just hope? Teens have many needs but one of their greatest needs that is easily overlooked is the the need to see their parents live out authentic faith in front of them. Teens desperately need more than religion or family tradition. Teenagers need to see their parents follow Jesus in the middle of the messiness of everyday life. How is this going to happen? How are we going to help parents move from trying to look religious to living out an honest faith? When you think about the challenge it appears impossible but our God does amazing things in the middle of the impossible challenge. The starting point for those of us to serve teenagers is to choose to fight for the spiritual health of parents. You have to decide if this matters. You will not be evaluated by how you fight for families (most of our evaluation centers around numbers), you have to do it because it because families matter to God. If you want to help parents take forward steps in their spiritual journey start fighting with those who influence parents in your church…
- REMEMBER / nothing has potential to impact the life of a teenager like a parent following Christ partnered with a healthy youth ministry!
- Help parents connect with healthy community groups (or Sunday School class if that’s your strategy) so they can live life and process faith with others
- Help your worship leader and pastor think through how your weekly worship environment can connect with both teens and their parents
- Invite Parents to SERVE / parents grow in their faith when the serve, why not empower them in your student ministry?
- Help your students understand their mission to live authentic faith out for their parents to see // I have seen teens bring their parents back to church so many times!
- Connect with parents every time you can / parents need to know you care for them and not only their student…use Facebook, your blog, text messaging…just try! Connecting with parents means we also work hard to connect with parents outside our church walls. Parents outside the church need to know someone cares.
- Fight for the health of your church / stop griping and start leading…a healthy church produces healthy parents. If you can’t help your current church move forward, find another church.
- Take your senior pastor to Orange 2011 or read Think Orange together so you can process the power of church and home united to influence the next generation
- Pray…this task is just too big for us to try to accomplish on our own strength
I would love to hear from student pastors out there. What are you doing to invest in the parents of your teenagers? Is your student ministry trying to serve families? Is leading ORANGE possible in student ministry?