Dear Parents of Teenagers,
Thanks for all you do to invest in the life of your teenager(s). 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), guidance counselor (preparing them for the future) and, sometimes, a jockey (pushing them to cross the finish line…without a whip of course!)…all wrapped up in one!
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 hanging out with other teenagers, playing some goofy games and hearing another Bible lesson.”
Believe me when I say, I understand the temptation. As a parent of a teenager (who has tons of homework, plays football and is not yet old enough to drive) my wife and I are constantly under pressure to measure every event through the lenses of what matters most. And we have decided that youth group attendance must be a priority. Although we view ourselves as the primary spiritual influence of our kids, we also believe that a strong youth ministry plays a vital role in his overall spiritual development.
With this as a backdrop here are five short, yet powerful, reasons you should encourage (make?) your teenager(s) go to youth group:
“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 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.
“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 and hatefulness (which can destroy a teenager’s self-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 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.
When Jesus challenged his most-likely teenaged disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations,” he was tapping into the activist wiring of these young men. 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.