Dear Parents of Teens,
I would love to thank you for everything you do to invest in the life of your teenager. Where would your teens be without you as their parent(s)? Seriously though, take a minute to think about it.
You do so much for your teen each day. In just ONE day you may feel like personal cook, a tutor, a maid, a drill sergeant, and an uber driver! Life is already busy enough, but when you add raising teens to the mix, it gives a new definition to the word busy.
With how packed our schedules get, it is easy to let youth group fall off the calendar each week. As parents, it may be tempting to think, “My kid is just too busy for a night of goofy games and hanging out with their friends.”
I understand what being overwhelmingly busy looks like in school. I tried to play every sport that was offered, I had a job, sometimes two, and I tried to maintain a high GPA. Throughout my time as a student, I found youth group to be an important part of my spiritual formation. It became so important to me that I decided to devote my life and career to this thing called “youth ministry!”
One of the main objectives of youth ministry is partnering with parents. Parents should be the primary spiritual influence for their kids, but I also believe that the church, and youth ministry, play a key role in a teen’s spiritual development.
Here are 6 reasons why you should encourage/make your teenager go to youth group:
- Teenagers need Godly models and mentors
“O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come. ” Psalm 71:17-18
Like I said earlier, you as a parent are called to be the primary spiritual mentor for your children, but they also need to be surrounded by other adults who love and follow God. It can only benefit your son or daughter to see that Christianity is more than just their parents’ faith. The teenage years are also a time where communication between teens and parents are strained. So it is a good idea to have models and mentors to reinforce the spiritual truths they are already learning at home.
- Teenagers need community
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
There is no doubt that humans are all created for relationships with other people, and teens are not excluded from that. All teens have a desire and a need to be a part of a community, and youth group fills that need of community, while pointing them to the gospel.
School can be rough for our teenagers. School may bring about stress, bullying, gossiping and slander. Our teenagers need an outlet where they come together for encouragement, support, and counsel according to the Bible.
- Teenagers need a mission
“Go and make disciples among the nations.” Matthew 28:19
Jesus gave this mission out to his followers, and in the same way He gives it to all of us as well. Youth Group is just one avenue that helps teens recognize the mission and purpose that God has for each of them. Youth Group also equips teenagers so that they will know how to share the good news of Jesus Christ with their friends. This contributes to their overall spiritual development.
Youth Group is also a safe place to bring friends who do not know the Gospel. Teenagers need to learn to have a heart for the lost and the least of these, and that is learned through our weekly program, mission trips and outreach events.
- Teenagers need biblical theology
“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:14-15
Students are bombarded with different opinions and ideas from teachers, friends, and social media. Youth Group is a place for students to wrestle with big issues they are facing in a safe place. Mentors and leaders can point them to the Bible for their theology and truth.
Youth group builds students’ theology upon the foundation that you have laid as their parents. It is also very important for students who don’t come from a Christian home to learn Christian theology and biblical truth. Youth group helps lay a theological foundation that all Christians need to develop over one’s spiritual journey.
- Teenagers need a safe place to confide and confess
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16
Teenagers have struggles and temptations and often they don’t have a place where they can confess and confide in others. Youth group provides opportunities in smaller groups for students to feel safe to share their struggles, build relationships, confess and confide with adult mentors and leaders.
This doesn’t mean everyone knows your teens deepest and darkest sins. But it does provide an outlet for teens and leaders to pray for each other, understand that they aren’t the only ones, and it provides them a chance to encourage each other. This leads to the healing and refining that must take place in all of our lives.
- Teenagers need FUN!
Youth workers all over the US can agree that we are starting to see more students who are struggling with the pressure to succeed and a struggle with depression. Anxiety among students is also on the rise. Youth Group provides a safe outlet for teens to let their guard down and to just enjoy being a teen. When teens are having fun it allows for Christ-centered relationships to develop and for students to learn that following Jesus is not boring and dull.
Youth Group also teaches teens how to have fun without the use of drugs, sex, and alcohol. Media is one of the biggest voices and teachers in our world today. The world is teaching our teens that partying, sex, and drugs is fun and acceptable. Youth ministry provides a safe place for students to have fun with other Christians as they encounter God and His word.
I know life can get busy, but as parents we need to help our teens to be good stewards of the time that God has given them. Investing time in youth group can have an eternal impact in the life of your teen. All it takes is saying yes, and being willing to be a part of what God is doing in the lives’ of teenagers at your local church. At the end of the day there is a battle going on for your teen’s soul. Encouraging your teen to get involved is just one way that you can help them develop faith that sticks!
by Kelly Lofy