Should parents get involved in the youth group? This has been something I've been contemplating a lot in the past few weeks. A few friends of mine are ardently against their parents helping out in the youth ministry, so I've been thinking about whether or not it's fair of the kids to tell their parents to not help in the youth group. What do you think? Assuming your parents are not involved already, how would you feel if they did start to help out? Would you be okay with it or would you feel like they were intruding on your turf?
In my case, both of my parents are heavily involved with my youth group. They are the only adult assistants besides my youth pastor and his wife. They bring a lot to the table and I'm comfortable with them in the room. I can talk openly in the youth room knowing they are there because I talk openly with them at home. But this isn't the case for everyone. There are some parents who are better suited to help out in other areas of the church. That's not saying they wouldn't be good with the teens, but God just wants them elsewhere. And some parents... well... some parents have no business helping in the youth ministry. We can identify those real fast. So I believe it depends on the parents we are talking about. Some parents would be awesome to have in the youth group; some wouldn't.
However, I also believe a lot depends on the children we are talking about. Some teenagers, like me, are totally cool with their parents. As I said, I like having my mom and dad in the youth group. But there are some kids who can't stand the idea of their parents being involved with the youth. They don't feel comfortable with their parents in the youth group. They say they feel like their parents are intruding. They say they don't feel comfortable talking about God and life and their problems with their parents in the room.
You know what I think about that? Bull. Crap. I think in situations like these, the teenager is just being immature and insecure. Why else would you want to block your parents from helping out? My thing is that if you aren't comfortable with being real about your relationship with God in front of your parents, you don't have much of a relationship to be real about. If you can't be open and honest with your Christian parents about your faith, there probably isn't much faith for you to talk about.
I'm sure that sounds harsh and rude, but please just think about it and you'll know that I'm right. A true Christian is not ashamed of the Gospel. If you are too ashamed or scared to talk about your faith in front of your parents, you may need to seriously evaluate whether or not you are a Christian.
Now I get the idea of wanting independence. I want my independence too. I'd like to move out of the house in a summer or two so I can establish my own independence and be my own man. I get the desire for independence. And if the situation you are in is a situation where your parents act like parents instead of adult assistants when they help out, I sympathize with you. Parents need to give their kids space to grow up, to find their own identity, and to find their own faith.
But with that in mind, I also believe that the best youth pastors are people who have raised or are raising teenagers of their own. There's just a different level of understanding and connection with a youth pastor when he or she has had teenagers of their own. If they've been good parents, they connect better with the kids than someone who has never had teenagers. My current youth pastor has three kids and the youngest is almost sixteen, and I have observed a huge difference in him and in other youth pastors who don't have teenagers. I'm not sure why there is that difference, but there just is. Adults who have teenagers are able to help in youth in ways that other adults couldn't. I think we should value the parents who are serving in youth ministry, because being a teenager myself, I know how frustrating the teenage age bracket can be to deal with.
I just get fired up when I see teenagers blocking their parents from serving in the church. Who are you to tell your mom and dad that they can't help out in the youth group? The Bible says to honor your father and mother, and it doesn't seem very honoring or respectful to tell them you don't want them there. If they feel like God wants them to help out, then let them help! If you're cool with them helping out, they won't be cramping your style or anything like that. They may actually become your friends if you let them. You may not always see eye to eye with them on things, but trust me when I say that it is to your benefit if your parents want to be involved. So don't fight it. Instead, embrace it.