Because I am the first to admit that I am not one to answer questions on raising teens with any authority, I had to call in some big guns to answer these questions! I may not get them all answered-- as some were pretty heavy and I want to make sure that I only answer them in a way that would truly be helpful. I have sent every question out to some folks who are qualified to answer and I hope that they will all respond so that I can post the answers here. If you sent a question and you don't see it posted here, assume that either I was one, not able to find an answer or two, didn't get it. Feel free to email me privately with any concerns!
Here is question number one:
I have a 15 year old daughter who is a Christian. She is very sweet and obedient, kind and loving. However, she has no interest in going to youth group or even church most Sundays. We do make her go to church "because its a family thing and God wants us to" but I'm not sure how much to push youth group. She goes to public school, so she has limited contact with other Christians. She also is on the quiet, homebody side, so I know she really does prefer to be home. I feel that youth group is important for growth and socialization with other Christians, but I don't want her to be one of those kids whose parents forced church on them so when they turn 18 or go to college they want nothing to do with Christianity. How do you think we should handle this?
And here is a great answer, sent in by Wayne Theurer, Minister of Youth and Young Adults at Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church-- THANKS WAYNE!!
I think that a relationship with Youth Group begins with the youth leader—RELATIONAL MINISTRY!!! If I were the parent, I would ask the student’s youth leader to have lunch with her and begin building that relationship. I have seen a direct correlation between visitation and participation in the ministry.
The second thing, would be for the parent to ask how they can become involved in the ministry. When parents come up alongside of students, there are great strides in breaking down the barriers within families. Case in point: we have a family who has been struggling SO MUCH with the same things this parent describes. The whole family attends on Wednesday nights now. They have said that being at church together on Wednesday nights is so important, that everyone in the family is going to do it. The mother is one of my table leaders, the father is one of my Elective leaders, and the students are no longer griping about having to be here because it is a family thing.