People have certain expectations of you as a youth minister—some of these are spelled out in the job description from your church, and even if you don’t have a job description, there are still things your pastor and church expect you to do.
But do you and your church have expectations of parents and guardians of youth?
I’m sure if you think about it, there are some things you wish parents would do, so why not be open and pass them along? I’m not talking about a long list of rules and regulations—I’m talking about a list of simple things parents and guardians can do to disciple and spiritually nurture their youth. This short list of expectations for parents will help you get started:
1. Pray for yourself.
Prayer brings you near to God, and your sons or daughters need parents who are near the Lord. Parenting can be tough, so it’s amazing to listen to and talk with a Father who wants to grow and strengthen you.
2. Pray for your children.
First, thank God for you children, because they are gifts to you. Pray for them to be near the Lord, and pray that they would have guarded hearts and minds. I mean, have you seen the world our teenagers are trying to navigate these days?
3. Be informed about what’s happening in the youth ministry.
Read any material that’s sent home with them.
4. Be on time.
Nothing tells your children they aren’t a high priority quite as much as being late to pick them up from an event does. Of course, life happens, and sometimes you can’t help being late, but this should be the exception instead of the rule. And when you get there to pick them up, be glad to see them.
5. Have conversations with your kids.
Talk with your children about stuff. Yes, I am well aware of the limited vocabulary of middle school boys—I have two of them living in my house! Talk to them anyway. Ask them about things they’re interested in—take an interest in their world. And make sure you laugh together.
6. Take time to eat together.
Don’t just eat on the couch in front of the TV—sit down together, talk, and enjoy one another’s company. There are times schedules may make this difficult, but if you can, try to eat together five times a week—it will greatly impact your relationship with your children, and it will impact their faith. Make sure to pray, too—give thanks for your family and for the food you have.
This isn’t a job description for parents—it’s ways that parents and guardians can begin to intentionally disciple their children. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so encourage parents to think through other ways they can engage their children’s faith. Remind parents that because they’re Christians, God’s Spirit lives in them and wants to connect them with their sons or daughters in ways more powerful than we could possibly understand.
- Russell Wheelington is a professor of Youth Ministry and Christian Education at Howard Payne University. He’s also one of our YSASN professors. If you’re a professor of youth ministry or a student of youth ministry, check out more about the YSASN program HERE.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.