AS a Dad
I have two boys. I wrote the following in the middle of the Black Hills one summer, as I pondered my role as a dad.
- Things that I pray for you!
- Passion for faith
- Life led with integrity and values
- Respect for others and yourself
- Organizing priorities, money and time
- Practice and knowledge of health and wellness
- Responsibility as a citizen of neighborhood, community, country and the world
- ove and taking responsibility for family
- Willingness to work toward and accomplish purposeful and passionate goals
- Be able to discern and accept that all in life is not fair, equal, or honest. In other words, to know enough not to get taken advantage of and to know when to stand up for things that are not just.
- Enjoy life, people, faith, talents and arts.
Love. – Dad
I think this list served me well as a parent. It has also helped guide my own life. The boys have copies of this list. It has never been
a secret. I think it has helped them to know me.
AS a Youth Minister
I recently did a series of phone interviews with parents. I began by asking, “If you were to write a letter to your son/daughter, describing what you hope their faith and life may be like in 15 to 20 years, what would you say?” I was surprised st the appreciation these parents expressed that anyone was asking that question.
Some of the recurrent themes included the hope that their young adult would:
- Be surrounded by intentional relationships with Christian adults and peers. From a parent’s perspective, this was their biggest plea. “Help, I don’t want to do this alone. I need others who affirm, uplift, model values and encourage my kids .”
- Participate in and value a worshiping community. All hoped “Church” would be a constant in their child’s future.
- Continue to grow in biblical understanding. Often, this was expressed as a hope that youth could defend themselves. I sensed from these parents that they often felt ill equipped to explain much from the Bible.
- Engage in faith conversations with peers, adults and households.
- Live a life that is unprejudiced, open, and appreciative of diversity.
- Demonstrate an attitude and practice of service.
- Have a personal practice of prayer. Parents recognized that they could not “always be there.”
What are the values that guide your ministry? How would you develop your list of desired outcomes?
How are you asking parents about what their spiritual hopes for their youth are?
How would such guiding outcomes effect a families decision to join a congregation?
I often get asked to evaluate a youth ministry program in a congregation. Most often, they want to begin by talking about particular program, maybe remembering a program that was really great 12 years ago, or wishing they had something as glitzy as what 1st Church of Whatever down the road is doing. It is too easy to get stuck looking at one program brick in the road, instead of looking at where the road is going.
Own your youth ministries outcomes. Don’t get caught looking at single bricks. Begin with the end in mind.