Autonomous Youth Ministry and Parents – Part 4
Autonomous (capable of independent function) Youth Ministry – Part 4
Highly-effective youth ministries also have a parent ministry focus. The home should be the primary resource for spiritual training; however, we all know there are many spiritually-deficient homes. Is it our responsibility to be surrogate parents and take the place of their parents or are we to work in tandem?
In light of the principle of 2 Timothy 2:2 (autonomous ministry), I suggest that we commit to do everything in our power to supplement parents who are struggling; we should not simply dismiss them. Obviously, we will have some students in our ministries who have unsaved or uncaring parents, and we will need to take up the slack. Our goal should still be to win them to Christ or help them mature in their faith, so they can assume spiritual leadership.
In his book Rethink, Steve Wright has written about a philosophy of ministry that engages both parents and youth ministries. He uses an illustration of riding a bike and talks about the need for both pedals. He makes the analogy of the parents being one pedal and the youth ministry the other. His point is well taken; we need both.
Would it be revolutionary or simply prudent to help Christian parents become the spiritual mentors in the home? To implement this philosophy, there must be a commitment to communication, training and availability to the parents and not just the students.
1. Communication – Keep the parents informed about what is happening in the youth ministry. This will involve more than just sending them the calendar. Ask them about their heartbeat and goals for the student, and share yours. Make sure that you are both on the same page.
2. Training – One-on-one, group seminars and church-wide opportunities should be scheduled and maximized. Some of the training will take place when you get the parents together and let them talk. They can share some of their struggles and pressures, and either you or another parent can give insight.
3. Availability – I suggest two areas for your consideration. Take the time to meet with every parent individually. Secondly, let them know that you are available for questions, crisis or just fellowship.
As the apostle Paul said, “Think on these things.” Let me know what you think about this concept of autonomous youth ministry.