A Pastor’s Plea to Parents
Dear parents of teens,
I need your help. As a youth pastor, the main purpose of my job is to point teens toward Jesus. I am doing my best to lead them into God’s presence and help form them into genuine followers of Christ. But I cannot do this all on my own. So I am asking for your help and your support.
First of all, I only see your students for a couple of hours each week.
And during that precious time, I am trying to do a whole bunch of things: form relationships with each of the students, facilitate healthy bonding between the students, present important information and announcements about upcoming events, lead them into God’s presence through prayer and Scripture reading, and cultivate active discussion on God and His Word. That is a lot to cram into one hour on Wednesday nights!
Because of this, I need you to continue having these types of conversations about God and His Word with your son or daughter throughout the week. This can be done in the car on the way to school or games. This can be done around the breakfast or dinner table. This can even be done through the frequent text messages you probably exchange. No matter how busy your child is or how little you see them, I guarantee that you have way more interaction with them than I do as their youth pastor. You influence your teen’s life more than you probably realize. So I am asking for your help to spark these discussions about God and living for Him with your teenaged sons and daughters. (For resources on having these types of conversations, I highly recommend Fuller Youth Institute’s website at www.stickyfaith.org/parents.) Always remember that (for better or for worse!) you are the primary Christian model in their lives.
Secondly, I need you to communicate with me.
This is huge. I have many teens that I am trying to look out for, and if something is going on with one of them, it might slip past my notice. If there is anything that I should be aware of, please notify me. I often won’t know what is going on unless you tell me! Please let me know how I can be a resource to you or your student. I am happy to help in any way possible, even if it just means being a listening ear.
But this communication is also really important when it comes to event planning. It would greatly help me if you or your student lets me know if they will be able to make it to a certain activity (I usually have sign-up sheets well in advance.) I need to have an accurate head-count when I am planning food, transportation, and adult sponsors. Additionally, please communicate to me whether or not your student needs a ride to church or any other youth activity. I recognize that many of my teens can’t drive, and I am always more than happy to pick up a student or arrange transportation for them as long as I have adequate prior notice. It would be awesome if you could drop them off or pick them up (This allows time to have those great Godly conversations I mentioned above!), but if you are unable to do so, please let me know.
I always try to do my part to communicate to you the details about a particular event—date, times, cost, etc.—and you can always contact me if you have any questions or concerns. (I’m available through phone, email, text message, Facebook, Twitter, smoke signal—take your pick!) Essentially, I would love to open the doors for our communication and keep them wide open!
Third, I need your support.
The events I plan are rarely there just to “fill the calendar” or provide students with something to do. They almost always have a deeper meaning:
- They are meant to connect them to God or to one another.
- They are there to open their eyes to the broken and hurting world around them.
- They are there to give them a chance to serve others.
- They are there to help them grow in their relationship with Christ.
I know that your time is precious and that you have a lot going on. Because of this, I try very hard not to crowd your week with pointless and meaningless activities. So when I schedule something, please trust that it is important for your child’s spiritual growth. Please support me by advocating for these events to your teenagers and encouraging them to attend.
Finally, I am asking for your prayers.
I love your teenagers and am doing the best I can to direct their lives toward Christ. As I lift them up in prayer, I would ask that you do the same for me. As I said before, I can’t do all this on my own; I need both your help and–more importantly–God’s help! In return, I will constantly be praying for you and your students.
In conclusion, my question to you is this: Do you want your teenager just to turn out to be a nice person, a good citizen, and a productive member of society? If so, then you probably only need to send him to church once a week. You really shouldn’t bother talking about God, the Bible, or your own Christian walk. If raising a productive member of society is your only goal, then you could most likely put athletics and other extracurricular activities ahead of church and youth events.
But if you want your teen to fall in love with Jesus and grow more into His likeness each and every day, then I need your help. Together, we can place the lives of the teenagers we both love into God’s hands as we model for them what it looks like to truly follow after Christ.
Thank you for being an awesome and loving parent to your teenagers!