Wednesday, June 12, 2013

4 Reasons this Dad / Pastor is Thankful for our Student Ministry


Over the past few days I've been overwhelmed by the influence student ministry has had on my family.  It's good to stop and reflect.

It's been quite a week.  My 2 oldest sons drove from Georgia to be with the family for my daughter's high school graduation.  Andrew, Austin, Zach and Lauren were all in Dallas as were my in-laws and parents.  What an amazing time.

As a youth pastor my goal has never been to develop relationship with every kid in the youth group, that would be impossible and ineffective.  My deep desire has been to insure every kid has opportunity for meaningful relationship with adults who love Jesus and love them.  

As a father I'm thankful this is the heart of our student ministry.

You see, over the last days I've been reminded of the Godly adults who have shared life with my daughter.  Of course her brothers and grandparents have been there, but then there's Shelly, Brian, Lori, Scott, Alisha, Nat, Dana, Sasha, Mary Ann, Chris, Chelsea, Sylvia, Bryan, Allison, Steve, Jackie, Andrea, Mark, Jade, Javi, Jenn, Susan, Carrie and so many more.  

Some of these relationships have come organically through my friendships but others have come through our student ministry's intentional desire to connect Godly adults with kids.  It seems this is the way the body of Christ is supposed to function.

As I've been reflecting here are areas I'm particularly thankful for...

A safe place for Godly council - 

As a dad I don't know everything nor do I need to know everything going on in the life of my daughter.  I'm so thankful for a safe place for Lauren to share her struggles with Godly adults who love her.  Within these relationships she can doubt, cry, complain and struggle.  I TRUST THEM to provide great Godly wisdom.

A voice of reinforcement -

Obviously I'm not privy to conversations with my daughter and her adult leaders, however, I do know them well enough to know they point her to Biblical truth and wisdom.  You know how it is, as a parent your kids think you no nothing, but when someone else speaks truth it all of a sudden makes sense.  We've needed that over the years.

A foundation of prayer - 

I pray for my kids with frequency and fervency but what an incredible blessing to know other adults who are doing the same.  God has answered those prayers and it makes a difference.

Consistent accountability - 

All of us need to be pursued when we lose our way.  I'm in accountability and need my fanny kicked every once in a while.  (ok, maybe often)  It's so comforting to know you're not the only adult saying hard things to your kids.  God has used these conversations to protect my daughter.

Lauren has had and continues to have a constellation of adults speak into her life.  Some of those adults have influenced a little from a distance and others are close with deep ongoing relationship.  Whether a little or a lot, I'm so thankful for each of those encouraging voices.

If you're a parent, help your kids develop deep relationship with other Godly adults.  Take full advantage of your student ministry's small groups.  Trust that God is in the middle of those relationships.

If you're a youth pastor, work to make sure every student has opportunity for connection with trained / Godly adult leaders.  You can't and shouldn't try to disciple every student in your youth group.  But you should seek to see every student discipled.

If you're a youth pastor and a parent?  Rejoice in the truth that God has designed the Body to function this way.  It truly does take a village.

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