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the influence of parents on teenagers' spiritual growth

the influence of parents on teenagers' spiritual growth

We've all had students in our ministry that just seem to "get it." Spiritual things just seem to click with them and they truly value Christ. It's always encouraging to watch these students grow.

On the other hand, if we're honest, we've all had the students that cause us to want to bang our heads against the wall. They don't get it and no matter how much knowledge they have, they don't value Christ.

I think all of us want to figure out what it is that separates these groups of students; what makes some of them "get it" and others to totally ignore it?

This smacked me in the face recently as I was thinking about a particular group of guy students in our ministry. They all go to the same school, have the same group of friends, have the same teachers, play the same sports with the same coaches, are in the same small groups class, come to the same Wednesday night services, and are in the same discipleship group.

Notice a pattern here? They have tons of the same influences, get the same teaching at school and church, and are exposed to the same things in their group of friends. So, the question has to be asked: Why are some of them growing spiritually and others drying up quicker than you could imagine?

As I started to think about each one of these guys, one thing started to stand out to me: their relationship with their parents. I'm not just talking about whether or not their parents are divorced or if their parents are generally good folks or not. I'm talking about the level of spiritual involvement their parents have in their lives. The ones whose parents are actively involved in their spiritual lives are steadily growing in their walks with Christ, whereas the ones who don't communicate about spiritual things with their parents are as dry as can be.

As I was thinking about this, I started thinking about other students in our ministry and in the majority of cases, the same thing held true. I know there are exceptions, but the most of teenagers who communicate with their parents about their spiritual lives are more likely to grow consistently in their walks with Christ than a kid who never talks to their parents about these things.

My point in all this is to say this: It's parents' jobs to be the primary disciplers of their children, not ours. It can be tough because all parents aren't doing this, but that's no excuse for us to ignore it. If we truly care about our students, we'll get down and dirty helping equip their parents to learn how to disciple them. After all, teenagers' relationship with their parents is one that will last long after we're out of the picture. 

Share your thoughts with the youthministry360 community:

  • What are a couple of ways you are equipping your parents? Is it resources? Training?
  • Do you find parents to be accessible? How many (if any) are resistant to your efforts to involve them?

What else is on your mind? We want to hear from you . . .

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