Dear Parents of Teenagers,
Thanks for all you do. You transport, coach, tutor, guide & protect your teenager on a daily basis. That’s why, with all the insane busyness of parenting a teen, it’s easy to let youth group attendance slide off the grid. It’s tempting to think, “My kid’s just too busy for a night of playing some goofy games and hearing another Bible lesson.” Believe me when I say, I understand the temptation. — With this premise, here are 5 short, yet powerful, reasons you should encourage your child go to youth events and Sunday School:
(#1.) Teenagers need models and mentors.
You as a parent are called to be the primary spiritual mentor of your own teenager but he/she also needs other godly adults! It’s important for your son or daughter to see that this whole “Christianity thing” is more than just mom’s and dad’s belief system. They need to have models and mentors that reinforce all of the spiritual truth they are learning from you.
(#2.) Teenagers need community.
In an age of bullying, gossip, slander and hatefulness, young people need other young people who can lift them up, encourage them and challenge them in all the right ways. Youth group is also a place where teenagers can discover their spiritual gifting and begin to use it to serve others. This will help them have a heart to selflessly serve others for the rest of their lives!
(#3.) Teenagers need mission.
Jesus challenged his disciples to be activists. In the same way your teenager needs to be challenged with the mission to reach their peers with the good news of Jesus in a loving and contagious way. Youth group is a place where your teenager can invite their unbelieving friends to hear the gospel. But it’s also a place where they can be equipped to share the good news of Jesus with their own peers. This process will accelerate the discipleship process in the life of your teen.
(#4.) Teenagers need theology.
Youth group is a place where teenagers can wrestle through the theology you’ve been teaching them and have it reinforced in a powerful and personal way. Youth groups and small groups should be a place where teenagers can ask tough questions and even share doubts and struggles with their beliefs without fear of rebuke. Skilled youth leaders can take questioning teens back to God’s Word as the source of authority and help them process through all of the Biblical truth you are praying they grasp, believe and live out.
(#5.) Teenagers need a safe place to confess and confide.
Often teenagers who struggle with sin and temptation have nowhere to confess and confide. They feel trapped by their sins. But a healthy youth ministry can create a safe space for teenagers to open up and talk honestly about their struggles. Teenagers who push their struggles down and never open up often struggle later on in life with addictive and destructive behavior. An effective youth ministry can help teenagers deal with these challenges now and prepare them to be victorious both now and later.
It unfortunately becomes commonplace that we insist that our student live up to their sports-team commitment, and even hire tutors for academic achievement; but simply *hope* that spiritual growth passively develops on its own. –I pray we will all actively encourage spiritual growth in our children, as well as I know you encourage physical growth. Thank you all! — Chris Mixer (with help/thoughts from Greg Stier, Founder of Dare 2 Share ministries).