A few months ago I posted my take on Voddie Baucham’s Family Driven Faith. Then I thought about it some more and posted a clarification in which I said that the ideal would be to find a happy medium between traditional youth/children’s ministry, and the total age-integration Baucham recommends. Well, I think I found it. Clay recently read Rethink by Steve Wright and loved it. After speaking with the author in a phone interview and hearing him at a conference recently, he is convinced that this book describes the happy medium that would integrate parents/families into a youth ministry model that still allows for age-segregation at church.
The statistics cannot be argued. Traditional, existing youth ministry is not working. Students are leaving the church as soon as they graduate high school, if not sooner. We cannot lure them in with food and lights and games, entertain them the whole time they’re with us, be their hero and best friend, and leave it at that, which is what so many youth ministries do. Wright gives thorough research that I will not repeat, and his conclusion is logical. Involve the parents, champion the family, champion the church. We must not pull the youth out into their own little sub-church where they rarely if ever mingle with the rest of the body. We must not try to be the primary disciplers of these kids, rarely if ever directing them to their parents with their questions. We must not ignore parents, leaving them out of their children’s spiritual journey. Steve Wright gives many suggestions and principles for making sure that the above does not happen in a biblically-based youth ministry.
As we work with youth, we must work with parents. Parents must be equipped with resources and encouraged with “how-to” for being the primary disciplers of their children. Parents, you cannot just leave that to the youth guy. It’s not his job. It’s yours. Youth guys, you cannot try to fill in that role. It’s not yours to fill. Parents, be the parent. Be the spiritual model for your kids. Be their hero. A youth minister with this “rethought” philosophy will enable and equip you to do this.
Any parent of teens, and especially anyone working with students in a church, needs to read this book.