Equip parents before the youth group

Michael Kellahan

Deuteronomy 6.6-7 reads ‘These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up.’

Ephesians 6.4 reads ‘Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord’

The great responsibility to bring children up in the ‘instruction of the Lord’ is not given to children’s workers or youth ministers. And yet so many churches act as though it is.

How many resources are given over by your church (and our Diocese) to the recruitment, training, and employing of childrens and youth ministers? What if those same resources were instead given to train parents to discharge their God given responsibility?

Too often a youth group is seen as an essential for raising Christian kids. Plenty of people have ‘big youth group’ as top of their list for choosing a church. Others leave a good church to find a better youth group. This is putting the cart before the horse.

The stakes on this one are raised in a small church setting where the teenagers can be sucked out of the church where their family is, and into the church where the youth are. That’s not to say you can’t do youth ministry well on a smaller scale - but the reality is you are working against the grain of our church culture.

Children’s and youth ministry need to be seen as a complement to the family ministry than as a substitute for it.

Humanly speaking, the family is where much of the next generation of church is being raised.

As the gap between church and culture seems to grow, we needs parents (and dare I say fathers?) who will step up and commit to raise their kids in the love and knowledge of Jesus.  Two hours a week at youth group will not cut it.