A Different Teen problem

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Scott J, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. Scott J

    Scott J
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    Our church is very small so I double as the Adult SS teacher (12 and up) and the youth leader.

    I have a strange problem that I would like advice and comment on.

    We have a 14 year old girl who began attended our church because she was dating a member. She was saved and began to grow. Even after breaking up with the boy, she continued to faithfully attend. Even after it was obvious that she had no further interest in the boy, she continued to attend every service.

    We are very proud of her and blessed by her. She asks good questions. She shows evidence of growth.

    Her mother's religious background is Catholic though she and the girl's father have both spent time in prison for drug related offenses. They are still married.

    Recently, the girl and her mother came into conflict. The parents had bought the girl some clothing and a game tag to go deer hunting. The regular gun season here only lasts 11 days. The girl went on opening day but didn't tag a deer. Her dad wanted her to go again on Sunday but she refused when he wouldn't bring her back in time to attend church. The mother (who apparently controls the home) was absolutely furious.

    The girl was originally restricted to attending church once per week. But her mother fell asleep that night so she got her dad to bring her to church anyway.

    On Wednesday, she asked me what to do. I told her that she couldn't sneak around and disobey her mom. That her mom was still an authority in her life and that she must obey her. I told her to continue to ask if she can come and to pray for her mom but not to fight or rebel.

    Apparently now the mother has refused to allow her to come at all. I don't know all of the details but apparently she thinks we are brainwashing the girl in part because she would rather go to church than hunting if she has to make a choice. Other influences on the girl's moral outlook and beliefs are apparent to us and maybe to the parents as well. They may be offended if she is confronting them about private family sins. The mom has threatened to move the family so that the girl can't attend our church.

    The parents don't appear to be approachable for us at this point.

    Do you all have comments, opinions, or advice? Was I right in telling the girl to obey even if that obedience involves her not being allowed to attend church?
     
  2. chipsgirl

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    Oh my. This is tough. Hopefully some of the pastors here on the board can help you on this one. For now, all I know to do is pray for the girl and her family.

    Does the girl have any friends in the church whose parents are friends with her parents??? They may not feel so threatened if it's approached from that manner.
     
  3. Scott J

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    No. Unfortunately not.

    From what the girl has told us, my wife and I have somehow earned some respect with the mom. She had supposedly told her that she was being allowed to continue to come because we were there. But it had to be indirectly derived. We have only met her once or twice. My wife talked to the mom briefly on the phone once as well.

    We do know the girl's sister and several of her friends also. They might have influenced the mom's opinion.

    Weird situation. The younger sister is allowed to get away with going to places that could get her into big trouble... and at times that a 13 year old shouldn't be out walking around the streets of even small town USA.

    We know that the sister has been caught going to boy's houses with other girls at 1 or 2 in the morning. This apparently doesn't warrant very harsh punishment though.

    We have attempted to influence the girl at church in purely positive ways. I really, honestly don't know what could have happened to make them think we are "brainwashing" her unless she is taking moral stands that we don't know about that offend the parents.
     
  4. Rev. Lowery

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    Parents are to teach there children right from wrong however this doesnt always happen and the Bible is clear that if we as parents dont teach our children that we will be held responsible not only that Christ said

    Matthew 19:14
    But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

    Mark 10:14
    But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

    Luke 18:16
    But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

    You have instilled in this child the love and knowledge of Christ our Lord and this will remain with her and her salvation cant be removed by her parents objections to her going to church. Her fellowship will be a spiritual one till she can be free of her parents ideals.

    She should by no means cause hardship in her family by rebeling this would be ungodly and unchristian of her. We must pray for her family and her that Gods Will be done in her life.

    Please Feel free to contact me
    Rev. Jerry D. Lowery
    [email protected]
    http://www.truechristministries.com
     
  5. chipsgirl

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    It may be possible that she is doing this and the only way to find out is to visit with the family and talk to them from your heart. Let them know how much fun their daughter is having and how she's making friends, etc... Maybe you or your wife could call the mom and say that you all and some of the other kids at church have missed the young girl and you all just wanted to make sure everything is ok. If there is a special event coming up, call the mom and invite the daughter. These conversations with the mom might give you all some insight into why the young girl isn't being "allowed" to come back.
    This girl may be the door for her family to come to Christ. Don't give up on her.
     
  6. Johnv

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    Parents have complete authority over their kids. If the parents forbid a child to attend church, or a certain church, then the child must comply. A church must support the wishes of the parents, even if they disagree with them (so long as there are no laws broken or no one is harmed).

    I'm guessing that the parents will eventualyl permit her to attend again.
     
  7. Karen

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    Will it hurt anything for you to go visit and talk first hand? The worst would be what you have now - that she can't come.
    But sounds like you are only dealing secondhand with the parents right now.
    Can you invite the family to dinner at your house or some neutral ground to just spend time and talk?

    Also, maybe she should more directly appeal to her father. Maybe if she talks to him privately, he will stand up more for her.

    Karen
     
  8. mioque

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    "The mom has threatened to move the family so that the girl can't attend our church."
    "
    This bit strikes me as weird.
    Entire Families don't move easily.
    Hollow threat?
    Are they truly frightened by your church in some way?
    Are they all unemployed and living in a trailer?
    Is the devil making them do it?

    If you succeed in sitting down with the parents and having a mature conversation with them, it might be prudent to be diplomatic and not stress the fact that you think that being a Roman Catholic drug dealer is bad. ;)
     
  9. DeeJay

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    My guess:

    By her choosing the church over spending time with her family hunting they feel threatened that she is replacing their athority and love with your athority and love. The parents allow the other daughter to go to places she should not because they are the ones allowing it nobody is replacing them. They percive there athority is threatened. It is not so much that they care she is in church as much as they care that she is under there control. They may not understand why a young person would want to be in church in the first place. It seems very unnatral to somebody who has not the desire to be in church themselvs.

    If you get a chance to speak with them reassure them that you believe they are the athority for their kids and anything their kids have to do with the church is by their permision only. Tell them you would love to have their daughter participate and that she brings alot to the group, however you would never wish to undermine them. Tell them the daughter is welcome to be a part of the group any time as long as and only if it is ok with them. Also invite them to come see what is happening.
     
  10. Vasco

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    This happens in Brasil alot, where most persons have tradionaly been raised Catholic. May times a child will join our Church but the parents not. Usually, the Pastor will talk to the parents and that resolves it. But many times he will say to them remember the commandment to honor thy father and mother and their word is to be obey. Maybe you can talk to the girl and her mother and father to see if you can all agree.
     
  11. Ulsterman

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    I agree with Vasco. Having worked in the Republic of Ireland where 96% are R.C., this is not an uncommon situation. To the parents you are both a stranger and strange. The best thing to do is for you or the pastor to go to the home. Introduce yourself, be gracious, and explain to the parents how the girl came to be in your church, and how she came to faith. Let them know that we believe many of the same things R.C's do - Trinity, Virgin Birth etc. Help them see their daughter is not aligned with some weird sect, and that you are seeking their permission for her to attend. Invite them to come by the church, possibly even in private, to view the premises and ask any questions they please. Tell them they may come to any activity the girl is involved in without notice. In other words, remove and allay all their fears.

    The worst that can happen is that the situation remains as is. At the very least you will have conveyed your concern both for and to the girl in question. She will see you have neither forgotten her nor abandoned hope. At best the parents will come around and may even begin attending themselves.
     
  12. Brother Ian

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    Children are obligated by Scripture to obey their parents. You did right honoring their requirements.

    Continue to pray for this family that you will have an opportunity to speak to them directly. The girl can continue to study her Bible and grow independently of the church. Missionaries do it all over the world.

    Show the family the love of Christ by not being intrusive in their family, but as JohnV said, as long as they are not abusing her, you can only do so much.
     
  13. Aaron

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    I can't believe Johnv and I are in agreement on this issue. She should obey her parents.

    I have not seen any prents, even unsaved, beer-drinkin', gun-totin' rednecks, who've objected to their children attending church, EXCEPT when the child used church or his spirituality as an excuse to disrespect or dishonor them. So, this may not be as different of a teen problem as you think.

    I'll guarantee that if you actually make the effor to contact her parents, you will see a wholly different side of the issue than she's presented to you.
     
  14. bapmom

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    Especially since you've indicated that her mom has some measure of respect for you personally, I think its important that you go over there and make a friendly visit. Just to say hi, and that you guys have missed her daughter at church....you hope she isn't sick......how is she? That sort of thing.

    Let mom and dad see that you are normal, and not wild-eyed fanatics out to change her daughter into a cultist.

    I think, too, that its important to not assume that the daughter is giving you the parent's correct perspective. It may be correct from HER point of view, but the parents may be seeing a totally different thing.
     
  15. paidagogos

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    This is not true. Parents do not have absolute (i.e. complete) authority over their kids. They only have the authority God has granted to them. For example, no parent has any authority to command their offspring to do wrong or sin. A father has no authority to put his daughter on the street working as a prostitute. You need to go back and look carefully at the concept of authority. All authority comes from God and is limited in its nature and scope. Do the parents have any more authority to forbid their children from attending church for instruction and worship than the Jewish Council had in forbidding Peter and John from preaching? (See Acts 5:39)
     
  16. paidagogos

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    This may or may not be the case. It is best to keep an open mind until you have the facts. Even if this happened a thousand times with you, there is no certainty that it is the case here. "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him." (Proverbs 18:13)
     
  17. paidagogos

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    Double posted--sorry! :(
     
  18. Aaron

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    Slow down. The fact that she was allowed, then disallowed because of a perceived disrespect toward her parents is enough to make a reliable call.

    Her parents are not Jews, so it's not because they hate Christ. Neither are they Muslims, therefore it's not because they believe the Koran (to blazes with all the high-falutin' spellings of that book).

    They're just Americans. So I'd say my take is 99.9% reliable.
     
  19. paidagogos

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    You're entitled to your own opinion but I can't take it seriously. Your suggested standard of reliability is unattainable with controlled conditions and good statistical models much less someone's opinion limited to their own personal experience. BTW, you seemed to have missed my point. Don't judge something until you know all the facts.
     
  20. Aaron

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    Do you have some kind of personal stake in this situation? My prediction is reasonable based on the facts presented.

    Just as my prediction that the sun will come up today is reasonable. I've personally seen it happen almost 13,000 times, but since no man really knows the future, my standard of reliability is unattainable in a controlled situation.

    But, I'm reasonably assured that the sun will rise today.

    And, I'm reasonably assured, since I've seen the very situation described multiple times, and have been guilty of it myself, that my appraisal is accurate.

    Go nit-pick somewhere else. We're not impressed, neither intimidated by your specialized jargon. :yawn:
     

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