Culture keeps changing at seemingly faster and faster rates. 25 years ago youth pastors would complain about parents engagement, one in particular admits: "Much of my early years of student ministry was bemoaning the fact that so many church kids would be forced to come to youth group and cause trouble for me and my leaders. If I only knew how good I had it."
The truth is, we need you. Here's 5 Reasons:
1.) Parents set the bar for living out their faith
There will always be exceptions to every rule but for the majority of our students: they will only do what they see their parents doing. This means: they need to see you reading your Bible, praying, and going to church. If they don't see these things in their Christian parents than they won't come to expect it in their own faith. You may be reading your bible and praying but if they don't see it... they won't know to repeat it. The majority of times our students will only come to expect from their own faith what they see in their parents. This doesn't include spiritual habits and good disciplines. It also includes bad habits and sinful lifestyles.
2.) Parents spend more time with students than ever before
Few students come to our youth group once a week, every week, with perfect attendance. If they come to Sunday school... we might see them for one hour out of the week. If they come to Wednesday night then we get to see them for an hour and a half. If they come to both: that's two and a half hours of time with them that we love and cherish. In 2010, parents spent on average a combined amount of 20.9 hours per week with their children (dad: 7.2 hrs & Mom: 13.7 hrs). Working moms today spend more time with their kids than stay at home moms did in 1970. Whoa.
According to this math each year the average youth ministry will be lucky to have 40 hours of teachable time with students, while parents will have approximately 1,000 hours of teachable time with them. Reggie Joiner in his popular youth ministry book Think Orange puts this number at 3,000 hours.
Make the most of the time you have with your students and disciple them. Jesus said, "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." (John 6:27). What if a few hours of your time with your child included working for "food that endures to eternal life." How would their days, weeks, and lives be different if Mom or Dad encouraged their faith on a regular basis? Yes, Jesus said it would take "work" but isn't it better to work for eternal things rather than temporary things?
According to Youth Specialties, "As students move into their teen years... the influence of peers does increase, but parents remain the number one influence in faith formation."
3.) Teens Aren't Driving Anymore
In the United States, the percentage of 17-year-olds with drivers licenses dramatically fell from 69 percent in 1983 to 46 percent by 2010. Double Woah.
The number one reason that teens give for delaying getting their license is: too busy.
Truthfully, they're lying. Teenagers spend an average of 9 hours per day on screens: between smartphones, tablets, televisions, computers, and video games. There's time to get a license. Researchers believe that it's more likely the case that students have access to transportation via highly involved and caring parents. Like we said before, we spend more time with our kids than ever before.
We need your help reminding students that Westco youth meets on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8:00. And we need your help offering rides. If your student can't get a ride: chances are we have a leader available. Not a week goes by when we aren't driving at least one student to and from youth group. Let it be known: we need your help getting these students to youth group.
By Pastor Keith Sobus
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