Parents Unleashed: Weekend Edition

Hi Parents of Teens! We have one daughter 17 and another who just turned 20. Getting through the teen years has been an interesting ride. As much as I teach college students how to work with teens all week long, I have been learning how to help teens in my own home.

I don’t claim to be an exceptional parent. My wife has been my coach in a lot of areas, even though I am the one with all of the degrees and have plowed through a mountain of books on the subject. For over a decade I have been leading seminars for parents …still, in some ways, parenting two completely different girls has been a bit of an experiment.

Through trial, error, success and failure we are coming to the end of the teen years but as you all know adolescence doesn’t stop there. If there is any way that I can help you if you are a parent, or you if you are a youth worker working with parents I hope that some of my own journey will give you hope and confidence.

So, to get started I want to quickly share some of the big principles that my wife and I have agreed on for our kids

Dangerous Comparisons: Finding peace in who you are and what you do without becoming complacent.

I felt defeated

A few weeks ago I found myself dissatisfied with my life in a bad way.

Maybe it had something to do with joining twitter and seeing so many popular leaders with thousands of followers. I saw authors and speakers who looked great and commanded the respect of others in youth ministry. In so many ways it seemed as though they were at the top of their profession! They had it made and I was envious.

I had to step away from my lap top for a moment and do some soul searching about the envy that was building in my heart. “Wow, where did that come from?” I said out loud. “I thought I dealt with that years ago!” Quickly I had to readjust my attitude by focusing on some of the most important lessons I have learned about life and ministry. Here are some things that I had to tell myself…

Important Starbucks Secrets

I am sitting here at Starbucks

…and yet another group of teens is lined up at the till ordering, chatting, flirting; feeling very much at home. At the long table, a grade 12 student seems to be studying for an exam. She seems fairly comfortable in this space, with her head phones, latte, and free Wi-Fi, as she pauses to text. As I am sitting here, I realize the teens own this space and I am wishing that they would feel this much at home at their youth group.

As I look around I can see why teens like it here and realize that there are ideas that we can steal for our youth ministries…

A Youth Ministry Rant about Lack of Depth

We have a problem in our youth ministries.  Actually it is a problem with us youth workers.  The problem is that we like results.  Now results in and of themselves are not bad.  The problem is that we are drawn to these results like a fish to that worm on the hook.  We want it so bad and it is not until it is too late that we realize that we should have been chasing something else.

My problem is that we will do anything for those results, within reason, and the odd time outside of reason.  We will bribe, guilt and manipulate students to come to youth.  But if we don’t go that far then we will worry more about what the students want that will make them like us or our ministry.  Or probably the most subtle but dangerous problem is that we become more concerned with how things look, style, than really anything else.

What we need are youth workers that are more committed to depth in their lives and their ministries.

Here is something we all need to continually develop in order to dig into the depth required for ministering to students.

Getting Started in One-to-One Discipleship

So you are sold on the idea of getting your leaders to meet with students one to one but like a lot of things in youth work getting started is the hardest part. Where do you begin? Some teens, in one of the groups mentioned in a previous blog, may come to you to ask for extra help. Other times parents may ask for extra help with their teen. What has worked for me was to announce the program of one to one meetings and I have had kids approach me afterward explaining that they would like extra help in their spiritual development. You could also encourage your small group leaders or adult leaders to take a student under their wing for a season… The relationship is established… but what happens after that?

How to Talk to Your Teenagers About Sex

So your students are surrounded by sex all the time.  It is hard to watch a movie, surf the internet, or pick up a novel without some message about sex being shared.  Some of these messages are healthy, but let’s be honest many are not.  Unfortunately the church has been very poor at being a strong voice in teaching our students about sex.

So the simple question is what are you doing to help your students have a biblical view of their sexuality.

3 Choices to Avoid Crisis

Don’t you hate it when you find yourself running from one crisis to another?

Suddenly everything you planned goes out the window and you are forced to drop everything to run to the passport office, get your car fixed, hold an emergency meeting, dash to the FedEx depot, or fly out to a store.

When I am in the midst of a crisis, my heart races, temperature rises, my patience is as short as my shallow breaths and I begin to hate my life. Panic can set in along with these last minute problems that jump me when I am least prepared.

Because I hate crises so much, I have determined to avoid them like the plague by making and sticking to these three proactive choices.