Anonymous Youth Pastor’s Letter to a Parent

This is a poignant summation of the frustration of many who work in student ministry. As a former youth pastor of nearly 6 years, I can relate. Courtesy of Trevin Wax (original post here).

Dear _____________,

I need to get something off my chest.

When I first came to this church, you told me how excited you were that I would be showing your kids what it means to love Jesus, be part of His Church, and grow as a Christian. You told me you were praying for me and that you had my back. You had high hopes for the youth ministry.

I had high hopes too. But I must confess that I am frustrated right now because I feel like you’re working against me, not with me.

The desire for your teenagers to be on fire for Jesus and all about His kingdom is what wakes me up every morning. I long to see a group of passionate, unashamed Christians ready to live on mission. I thought we shared that desire, but I’m not so sure anymore.

It seems to me that you see youth ministry as a supplement to your kids’ lives – not something vital. I’m like a vitamin you hope will keep your kids out of trouble, not part of your weekly exercise routine. You’d never say it like that, I know, but based on your priorities, I can’t help but feel that way.

I got a text from your middle-schooler on Sunday, telling me how much he wanted to be at church, but how you were making him be with the team. He doesn’t know when he can come on Wednesday nights, because he always has practice. He tells me he can’t wait till he can drive, so he can come to church more often.

At the very least, I wish I had the opportunity to equip and deploy your son as a missionary to the sports fields, but there’s just no time left in his schedule. I recognize that sports can be a good character-building exercise, but sometimes I’m not sure whether all these activities are for your kids or really for you. If this pattern continues, you shouldn’t hold on to any expectations that your children will find a good church once they’re in college. When your kids have to ask what you’re doing this Sunday, it’s already game over.

What’s more, your daughter told me recently that you have a “no-toleration policy” when it comes to alcohol, but you’ve given instruction on how to avoid pregnancy in case she was going to have sex. Well, let me tell you that I have a no-toleration policy for both those activities, the first because it’s illegal, and the second because it’s immoral. I want your kids to follow Jesus, not the world. That’s why I am so surprised that it seems like you are more concerned about your children embarrassing you than disobeying God.

When we first met and you told me that you wanted me to help your kids love Jesus more, I guess you were really saying, “Help my children be moral, respectable and religious.” I should have leveled with you then. I have no interest in helping you raise nice, moral hypocrites who love ball more than God or chase pleasure more than His kingdom.

I want to work together, but that means we’ll need to be seeking first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, not our kingdoms or self-righteousness.

Please know that I’m still committed to your kids. I just hope to see them again at some point.

Your friend,

______________

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Parenting is Hard

This made me laugh. Not sure this method is Super Nanny approved, but that’s definitely one approach to get your kids to go to bed…

One of the toughest lessons I’m learning as a parent is how to deal with both my children as individuals. To consider how God wired their unique personalities. To learn what motivates them and what discourages them. I admit that it’s difficult. I have a tendency to drop a blanket statement or rule without considering the uniqueness of my kids and how they’ll respond. Then I hold it against them if they don’t respond the way I would like. Doh.

To be honest, that’s really not fair to them.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

It finally hit me. Training a child the way “he” should go doesn’t necessarily mean I get to override the uniqueness that God created them with when they don’t respond the way I’d like EVERY time. It means that as parents, God has given Megan and I the responsibility of discovering what makes our kids tick. How are they wired? What motivates them?Then encourage that uniqueness and find ways/methods to train them Gods way.

That only comes with time and wisdom. Lots and lots of time. A myth in parenting is that kids don’t need quantity, they need quality. Not true. They need both. Especially now. As parents God expects us to:

  • Model Faith to our Kids
  • Spend Lots of Time with our Kids
  • Model a Healthy Marriage
  • Encourage our Kids
  • Provide Stability in the Home
  • Be Involved, Not Passive

There’s so much more to share. I haven’t quite perfected this yet, I’m definitely still a work in progress. 😉

I’ve got some thoughts about parenting that I’m going to turn into a series of posts over the next week or so. Some of my highlights as a dad, and some of my low points. Lord knows there’s plenty of both.