Dear Parents of Students,
Thanks for all you do to invest in the life of your student. You probably feel like an Uber driver (ready to pick them up/drop them off when they call), coach (helping them perfect their sport), tutor (working with them on homework), and a guidance counselor (preparing them for the future).
That's why, with all the insane busyness of parenting a teen, it's easy to let youth group slide off the grid. Although we view you as the primary spiritual influence of your kids, we also believe that a strong youth ministry plays a vital role in a student’s overall spiritual development.
With this as a backdrop here are 5 short, yet powerful, reasons you should encourage your students to attend youth ministry:
1. Teenagers need models and mentors.
"O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come. " Psalm 71:17,18
In the Jewish culture it wasn't just parents that poured into the younger folks. Older men poured into younger men and older women poured into younger women. (Titus 2:1-8.)
Of course you as a parent are called to be the primary spiritual mentor of your own student but they also need 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.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24,25
In an age of bullying, gossip, slander, hatefulness and the destruction of a student’s identity, 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 students can discover their spiritual gifting and begin to use it to serve others. This will help them have a heart to selflessly serve others.
3. Teenagers need mission.
When Jesus challenged his most-likely teenaged disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations", he was tapping into the wiring of these young men. In the same way your student 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 student 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 student in ways you could never imagine!
4. Teenagers need theology.
"Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church." Ephesians 4:14,15
Youth group is a place where students can wrestle through the theology you've been teaching them and have it reinforced in a powerful and personal way. This should result in your students knowing and owning their faith on a deeper level.
Youth groups and small groups should be a place where students can ask tough questions and even share doubts and struggles with their beliefs without fear of rebuke. Being able to take questioning students back to God's Word as the source of authority and help them process through all of the Biblical truth is valuable. We are praying they grasp, believe and live out God’s Word in tangible ways.
Great youth groups build on the foundation that godly moms and dads have laid. And, for those students who don't have believing parents, an effective youth ministry helps lay a solid foundation of Biblical truth for the rest of their life.
5. Teenagers need a safe place to confess and confide.
"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." James 5:16
Often students 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 them to open up and talk honestly about their struggles. Of course this doesn't mean they should confess every sin to everyone. But it does mean that they should have a handful of others who know their struggles and can pray for and encourage them to walk in victory over those sins.
Students 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 them deal with these challenges now and prepare them to be victorious both now and later.
Yes, I know that life is busy. But it would be a shame if our students graduated from high school and were catapulted into "the real world" without every opportunity to know, live, share and own their faith.
At the end of the day, our students embracing and embodying the Christian faith is more important than sports and more important than academics. Getting them involved in a healthy, vibrant youth ministry is worth fitting into a crazy, busy schedule.
This is way too important to be left alone!
"Although we view you as the primary spiritual influence of your kids, we also believe that a strong youth ministry plays a vital role in a student’s overall spiritual development."
"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."
"Youth group is a place where your student 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."
"Being able to take questioning students back to God's Word as the source of authority and help them process through all of the Biblical truth is valuable."
"Students 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 them deal with these challenges now and prepare them to be victorious both now and later."