In today’s world, many parents feel completely alone when it comes to raising their children. Often, family members are spread all over the country, leaving young families without grandparents or aunts and uncles to lend a hand and provide much needed advice. This also reduces the size of the circle of “Wise Counsel” for both the parent and child. There is, however, a group of people who could be a great resource and partner as you raise your children. As the parent of two girls, I have been greatly blessed and helped by my daughters’ youth and small group leaders. Here are a few benefits of partnering with the leaders in your church’s youth ministry:
Another voice saying the same thing: As a small group leader, they get a chance to help our students process the lessons taught in the larger group. I can remember laughing with my wife after hearing from one of our daughters about a new truth they had learned in youth group– because it was something we’d been sharing with them for years! It often takes repetition of the truth to bring genuine understanding. As parents, we can keep repeating ourselves… or enlist others to say the same thing. This can add credibility and a different perspective that your children may be able to relate to better.
Another adult that they can turn to: While we as parents want to believe that our children can talk to us about anything, there may be some things they would rather reach out to someone else about. It was comforting to me as a parent that my daughters had several adults in the youth ministry, especially their small group leader, that they could turn to. A good youth leader will direct students to their parents when needed, and it helps to have someone else encouraging them to do right.
Provide a safe place to ask questions: “God Stuff” is hard to comprehend, and as your students grow, they will have questions about God and their faith. This is to be expected and encouraged! Each stage of life brings new questions, and your teenager is going to ask someone: their friends, Google, you as their parents, and their small group leader. Their leader can guide the conversation in the right direction as they shed light on the facts of Christianity. This can be a major part of a teen owning their faith.
Parents don’t need to do it alone. Raising kids today is hard enough! The youth leaders in your church could be the perfect partners as you seek to encourage the spiritual growth of your teenagers. Check it out, and you’ll find another set of helping hands a bit closer to home.
Dwight serves as the National Operations Manager for Word of Life Youth Ministries. Prior to that, he was a Word of Life Youth Ministry Coach in Southern New England for 23 years. He and his wife Diana currently live in Schroon Lake, NY and have two adult daughters.