Through the Eyes of a Parent
My landlord recently came over to check on the progress of my family's move into our new place. We get along with her really well and she knows that we are local missionaries/pastors. In fact, from the moment we moved in, she has been intrigued by our “career” choice.
She said she isn't a Christian, but that her son is. He had recently joined a local church and now wants to go into “full-time ministry”(a term that was obviously new/strange to her). She went on to say that her son's youth pastor spends alot of time with him and that he wants to drop out of school (high school!!) to put all of his energy towards his pursuit of “full-time ministry.” I could see that she was a bit uneasy about the situation, so I just listened and asked questions. Finally she asked, “Would you be willing to check out the church website and tell me what you think? I'm sure it is a good church, but I'm just not sure what to look for.” She went on to say that the one time she went to the church to meet the youth pastor she felt out of place and ignored. “I'm happy my son is part of something that he is passionate about, I just wish I knew more about what he is getting into,” she finished.
Intentions and perceptions are very different realities. I don't necessarily think the church or the youth pastor had bad intentions. In fact, they were probably really good. As I reflect on my years in youth ministry, I'm sure there were some parents that had a similar perception of my leading and the church I served in. No, we are not catering to every parents' unrealistic expectation of our youth ministry. Instead, we are inviting our students' parents into a dialog of faith that is not only designed for teenagers, but for all of humanity.
As I'm sure any seasoned youth worker would say, parents need to be our biggest advocates if we are to engage our students with Jesus' radical call of discipleship. Further, we have the profound opportunity to share the good news of Jesus with parents that may otherwise never encounter it.
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.