My ministry to students has changed in the last year or so.
Before I had a teenage daughter in my ministry I looked at parents differently. I didn’t understand why it was so hard. Discipling their teens, that is. Now that I come from the other side of this scenario, I understand the struggle.
Often, as I spend time with my kids, it becomes easy to throw a bunch of things out there, not knowing exactly what the target is or looks like. What am I really trying to accomplish as a parent? As parents, we have to know what our end-game is. Is our goal to have culturally well-rounded students? Are we cultivating star athletes? What about Christ-following, Gospel centered, Kingdom focused young adults? Is that our goal?
In the book, “Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers is Telling the American Church,” a social study of Mormon students shows that one of the difference between Christian teens and Mormon teens is how their parents approach parenting.
Parents take to heart their responsibility to get their young people ready.
I say I take this to heart. I say I know what my priorities are as a parent. The more I look critically at it, the more I realize that I can easily prioritize my kids extracurricular activities over their discipleship. I look at all the things I didn’t do as a teen or ways I wished I had succeed and didn’t. I have a knack for making people I love in my own image – or the one I wish I had.
We generally approve of teenagers who let us socialize them into younger versions of ourselves.
Ouch. The question has to become what the writer of Proverbs says –
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
How can we raise our students to a genuine, life-changing relationship with Christ? Maybe it begins with us finding our own genuine, life-changing relationship with Christ – so we can raise them in the way THEY should go and not the way we went or wished we’d gone.