Reflecting on the Thanksgiving weekend we all just experienced, I was reminded of this post from last spring and thought it would be fitting as we navigate yet another holiday season.
Today I taught Launch Pad, a Christian religious release class in public school. Today’s class was about how God is a God of joy and delight. Being happy and having fun truly can be an act of worship!
The last part of the class we all sat in a circle, ate ice cream, and went around the circle sharing a bit about our lives. We all answered two questions:
1. What is one thing you are looking forward to doing this summer, and how will that bring joy into your life?
2. Describe one person that you have observed in your life that truly lives out the joy of the Lord.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because I was a bit surprised by the majority of the answers. There were a few of they typical/predictable answers. But the majority of the students mentioned an activity like a trip or camping or vacation. Why did it bring them joy? “Because I will get to be with my family.” Literally almost every student mentioned that.
And then the second question; literally half of the students said a grandparent. A few others answered one or both of their parents. Not a single one identified their youth pastor or youth leader, and these are all students that are at least loosely connected to a church youth group.
If you are a parent or a grandparent: your influence is HUGE in a teenager’s world
I realize teenagers don’t always say thank you and sometimes it doesn’t seem like they care if you are involved in their life. But they are listening and they are watching, and they care for you A LOT.
If you are a youth worker: you need to be encouraging and helping families
If you truly care about teenagers’ faith growing (and I know you do), your efforts need to include parents and multiple generations. I have heard it said for my entire youth ministry tenure–the #1 influence in a teenager’s life is their family. That was once again proved accurate today.
What are you doing to support and/or encourage parents in your church?
How are the multiple generations within your church interacting with each other?