Every year when school starts my phone begins to ring. The conversations to follow are often about the influences and pressures on students to do things they might not want to do! The home visit usually follows as well. My encouragement to parents is that each day to do a quick run through on how your kid’s day went. We often find ourselves much too busy to even talk about the day. Especially homes with multiple kids, this issue doubles and triples. One thing I have always told parents is know the names of the kids that your child is hanging with. Hanging out brings influence, I can measure the character of a student simply by who they hang with. Most parents are too busy to investigate who influences their kids, they often make the mistake of believing that if the kid comes from a good home, then his influence will be good to. Satan uses this trap a lot, know the kids your child hangs out with and you might begin to learn a lot more about your own child. As a youth minister it’s my desire to help families see the importance of developing faith talks as a normal part of family conversation, its immeasurable when considering the spiritual growth of a child. I really believe that students in faithful homes will look back and contribute their relationship to Christ, and their growth in Christ, to the spiritual efforts provided by the parents.
'Train up a child in the way he should go'
Many students spend their day running questions through their minds about how to experience life. Just to day I had a conversation with a student who left school and drove to the church to ask me a series of deep questions. She was intentional about working this into her very busy high school schedule, to stop and to ask. She was curious about things like, "does the bible really have no error?" One question was, "what happens to a person who commits suicide, and can they go to heaven?" These are extremely deep and highly valid questions that are thought about daily in the minds of teenagers...
Students are passionate about being deep and will often express themselves about how they feel. Many students even have a passion for Christ which is coupled with a passion to speak out about their love for God. The only problem is they don't know how to celebrate these "God Moments" in their lives! That is where the parent comes in...
We need a generation of parents who will step forward and celebrate the movement of God in their teenager's life. This is extremely important in the process of raising up young adults who strive to grow in their faith. I have seen students want to grow, and even take big steps in their faith walk; but never see their efforts celebrated within the family model. I personally believe that parents truly desire to celebrate but just don't know how. But we can't over correct ourselves on this.
Celebrating God Moment Ideas:
When a student takes a step in their faith like witnessing, a baptism, overcoming a sin problem or defending their faith we should definitely celebrate.
Easy Tip: Take them out to eat and be intentional about the dinner as a celebration for taking a step of faith. (Especially if they have younger siblings, this will not go unnoticed)
Easy Tip: Call a family meeting and have the student talk about their experience, and end it with a family prayer time.
Easy Tip: Let the kid whose God moment is being celebrated pick the next family outing.
Culture tells us to raise up our kids and celebrate all of their sports and school accomplishments. As parents we almost never let a home run, or an "A" goes unnoticed without praising. But can you imagine a generation of parents shelving the importance of worldly accomplishment for the absolute importance of God moving in the lives of teenagers!
Faith at home is a time to see God work in my life as I strive to be faithful to Him all the time. Both as a Husband and minister to students it is important that the authenticity of being a believer transcends all areas of my life. I cannot think of a more important place than my home life. It is often a struggle knowing that culturally we can be drawn into very compartmentalized lifestyles. To be a believer at times is to schedule the Lord in the busyness of my life which often leads to Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. The idea that this is healthy is something that is very crucial for us to break in our daily norm of Christian living. So being extremely intentional with my walk outside of the minister role and church schedule is to take faith with me in every area of living. To break down the walls and silence the temptation that living for God is to sing songs and just merely attend church services. That as a personal believer I can reach for Him in a 24/7 manner knowing he desires to see me grow in Him all the time.
"There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all." (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)