need advice

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by ashleysdad, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. ashleysdad

    ashleysdad
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    I know that technically this should be in the youth ministries forum, but I wanted to get as much insight into this as possible. If it needs to be moved I completely understand. Also this post may be a bit long. I am the Youth Pastor at my church. I love the Youth Ministry and know for a fact that this is where God wants me to serve. My issue is that I feel I am fighting a losing battle. I know that the final outcome has been decided but I fear the casualty count along the way. None of my kids parents go to church, it is simply not a priority to them. I want my teaching to be as effective as possible and I worry that I am not reaching them at all. The only Bible that they get is when the come to youth group meetings. The hardest thing to overcome is not the parents apathy, but the fact that for most of these kids they have no good role models in their lives at all except at church. Some of their home situations are beyond belief. I can already see some of them starting to harden their hearts and begin heading down dangerous roads and I feel powerless to reach them. I know that in my own strength I am powerless but I trust you understand what I am trying to say. I want to reach these kids and I love them like they were mine. I have lost sleep over them (please don't think I am trying to puff myself up here). Does anyone have any suggestions how I can ensure my teaching is as effective as it can be? I know that the final results are Gods and He and He alone gives the increase but I want to make sure that I am doing my part as well. Thank you for any advice and most importantly please pray for my kids.
     
  2. annsni

    annsni
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    My best advice is to not teach but to get into their lives. Go to their games, pray with them, have them over for dinner weekly, do things with them and that will influence them a LOT. While you're doing that, "What's God teaching you?" or "How can I pray for you?" shows them that you are really interested in them and that God is real to you. Unfortunately, you can't always make up for bad stuff in their lives but you can make a portion of their lives so appealing that they choose God over the world. But know you're going to lose a lot of them, unfortunately, but keep praying for them because later in life, they just may come back searching.
     
  3. ashleysdad

    ashleysdad
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    Thanks Ann for your advice. I have started doing that but due to work obligations I am not able to go to as much as I would like. I do have them over on a regular basis. Alot of the kids actually refer to my house as "the second youth room". People in the church are actually surprised if I don't have at least two extra kids at my house most week-ends. I have been going to their activities when ever possible. My prayer is that God will open up more time. Thanks again Ann
     
  4. jcjordan

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    I would say that when you teach them, don't worry about being cool. Worry about teaching them the Word of God. Have confidence in scripture doing it's job.
    Secondly.....I would be praying like mad for these kids parents. You can't replace the influence their parents have and ultimately it is there responsibility to lead their families. I would do all I could to reach the parents for Christ.
     
  5. exscentric

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    Teaching is important due to the fact that when they get into hard places the Word may be all that will be remembered. Yes, get into their lives but their heads as well. Any truth that gets stuck in there will help them someday.

    Don't know if it will help but my son was a youth pastor for years and he came to understand it is more important to get the parents when their kids are kids. Train the parents and they will train the kids. Not speaking against youth work in any way but the above will make it easier. For those with parents that are not interested, you can do what you can do and leave the rest to God. He and his wife struggled when the kids didn't seem to come along as they would have liked, but there were bright spots and many years for the fruit of the word to spring forth.

    Hang in there :thumbs:
     
  6. Gina B

    Gina B
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    Besides teaching the most important lesson...the story of Jesus and why, find people they can relate too in the scriptures and in real life.

    There are people in the Bible who killed, had mental problems, had families who were unbelievers, abusers, and rapists. There were prostitutes, there were false teachers, there were false religions, and just plain old rotten situations.

    Show how those people overcame these obstacles and became people we can look up to and admire for their strength. Give them ways to cope. How to react when mom's drunk. How to respond to violence without being violent themselves. Get a list of community resources and make sure the kids have copies of them. Most important, teach them that they as people are valuable. They are not what people say they are. They are not defined by the actions of their parents or their friends. They are defined by what they do with their choices.

    I have one specific teen right now that gets me. I had her in a few classes in school. It was obvious there were some issues, but she never talked to me. One day she sat there quietly with her head down, but when some noise went on next door, she got up in a huff, ran over cussing, and slammed the door. I yanked her out of class and into the hallway. She was ready to be defiant, until I made her look at me and simply asked her what was bothering her. She said it was the noise. I said "Who cares about that? I'm asking what's BOTHERING you in your life right now." She refused to tell me, but I advised her of people who were able to talk to her if she needed an outlet, and that I would respect her privacy if she ever wanted to share an issue. Then I sent her back to class, without giving me any indication that she gave a rip. However, I am now greeted with a great big smile and a hug by this student whenever we cross paths.

    The point of this story? Sometimes we don't realize how extremely helpful it is for a person to know that even if they don't utilize it, we are THERE for them.

    Another thing I've noticed is that the kids who come to church and appear to be great and wonderful are usually the ones who come to school and act like little tramps and troublemakers. The ones who come to church and act up a little are usually just being themselves. I much prefer that to false piety, even if it's more of a pain and time consumer to deal with the more "active" kids. You're reaching them more than you know or think right now, simply by being a Christian who is an example to them steadily. Couple that with prayer and don't you DARE think you're not making a difference.
     
  7. Peggy

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    Ashleysdad,
    You are doing yeoman's work in helping the youth of your congregation. I want to congratulate you on your efforts.

    You may not see the fruits of your labors today, tomorrow, or in the next year. But I guarantee you that what you sow in love will reap rewards in your life and in the lives of the youth you counsel. They will remember you and your kindness and how you served the Lord.
     
  8. gb93433

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    It is great that you want to reach the youth God has entrusted you with.

    The first order of business is to pray for each of them. Next is to get to know them well and be available to them. You will have opportunities to talk with them in way that parents seldom do. They will discuss things with you that they probably will not discuss with their parents.

    Your ministry is not about programs but people.

    Disciple the youth and do not just be a program coordinator.
     
  9. ashleysdad

    ashleysdad
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    I want to say thank you to all that have replied so far. I know at the intellectual level that there will be some (maybe most) of the kids in the youth group that will decide to walk away and that they are not interested. In fact I just had a 13 year old girl tell me Wednesday night that she was not going to be coming back to church. Her mom cannot handle her anymore so she is going to move in with her grandma. She has decided that in her words "I am not ready or willing to give control of my life to Jesus, I want to be in control and do what I want". Without going too deep into this situation, living with her grandmother will be the worst thing that can happen in this girls life. Her grandmother is not quite an atheist but pretty close and allows this girl to do what ever she wants with absolutely no restrictions. This is were youth ministry gets hard because I know almost as sure as if it has already happened what the likely outcome of this is going to be. This girl is only 13 (just turned 2 weeks ago) and was already trying to get her mom to get her on birth control. The whole situation is messed up beyond belief. I feel like I failed somehow to reach this girl and I want to scream at the adults in her family that are basically allowing this. One of the responses that was given was that the parents need to be reached. I wholeheartedly agree with this and have made this my focus because especially in this case I believe that if we can't reach the mom we will not reach the daughter. Again, I want to say thanks for the responses and especially to beg your prayers for this little girl. I fear that she is going to discover that scripture is true after all that we reap what we sow.
     
  10. Mexdeaf

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    Another perspective:

    It is our responsibility to stand in the middle of the road waving the "Bridge Out Ahead" sign and screaming at the top of our lungs, but we are not responsible for the actions of those who drive around us and ignore our warnings. It seems coarse or uncaring to say that, I suppose, but it is the sad truth.

    Perhaps it might be better to concentrate on those who DO heed the warning and get them out there waving signs also.
     
  11. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I like this analogy... and if I may, I want to take it deeper..

    If we start chasing down those that intentionally "drive around us".. we are not actively waving our sign.. and others may not see the sign that could have been saved.

    I had to deal with this in youth ministry. And at some point.. you just have to let them go, OR you risk losing others.

    It hurts.. I know.. .to watch people you love self destruct...

    But remember, your success is not rated on how many accept Jesus. Your success is rated on how many you show the sign to.

    We can't drag people to Jesus.. I would love to, but it would be ineffective.

    Remember, God even sent angels to drag lot's wife out of the city...

    Some people will just self destruct.. and it's not a pretty picture...

    Just try to be there to help them pick up the pieces when they finally want to give their life to Christ.

    Just like the father in the Prodigal Son.. He didn't beg, plead, or hold on to his son... but he was there to joyfully welcome him home.
     
  12. annsni

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    Absolutely agree with this and with what Tim said. You do what you can but bottom line, children choose what they will. We don't know what seeds we planted for the future because so many I know come to the Lord later based on what they learned when they were younger. But it still doesn't make it easy to watch them self-destruct when we know the truth, is it?
     
  13. gb93433

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    Many who grew up in non-Christian homes have turned out to be some of the strongest Christians today. When they make a decision to follow Christ they know the difference between following Christ and the world. They see and experience the difference.
     
  14. ashleysdad

    ashleysdad
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    My wife and I were talking and praying about this situation last night (she is as torn up as I am). We have been involved with this girl as well as her older brother and younger sister for so long (since before I became the youth pastor even) that we (especially me) lost a sense of perspective. This girl has stayed with us before for weeks at a time. When all this hit the fan her mom was going to see if we would take her which we would have gladly but the girl wanted no part of living here with us as her guardians because she knew that she would not be able to do what ever she wanted. I appreciate the counsel that I have been given regarding this. The truth is that most of the rest of this youth group are in varying states of this same thing. My problem is that I very much have a "fix it" mentality and this is something that I very much want to fix but cannot (but Jesus can!!!). All I can do at this point is trust that when she is tired of the mess her life is that she will come back. The truly scary thing is if you talk to this girl she is truly looking forward to not simply falling into a sinful life style so much as diving headfirst into it. The landing at the bottom of this fall is not going to be a pretty scene. I pray there WILL be pieces to pick up. If you all would please pray for this girl. Thank you all again!
     
  15. Mexdeaf

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    I'll be praying. I can relate to much of what you said.
     
  16. gb93433

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    When I taught high school students and when one of them did not listen rather than pulling against them I often let them fail by doing their own thing. When I realized that they would not listen I often pushed them to fail quickly on their own. When that happened often they listened to the next bit of advice I gave them. Sometimes it took longer than others for them to learn the hard way.
     
  17. Aaron

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    Hmmmm. Was looking hard for some fault here, but can't find any! :thumbs:
     
  18. Aaron

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    God has lost sheep everywhere, but not everyone is a lost sheep. Most are goats.

    Let the goats go. How do you know who is whom? His sheep hear His voice. You're only recourse is prayer and fasting.

    The idea of modern youth ministry itself is not conducive to hallowed means anyway. I would reject Ann's advice of getting involved in their lives, and any other carnal means to "win them over"—especially if you have a family of your own. Focus on the ones who are hearing Christ's voice and who hunger and thirst for righteousness. They're probably coming around without your extraordinary, carnal efforts.
     
    #18 Aaron, Jan 30, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2010
  19. annsni

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    See, I'm not talking about "carnal" stuff here. Unfortunately, there are those who have had such a bad upbringing that they have no way to identify God as a loving parent/Father. They think God is just like their own family and they want nothing to do with that. But when we get involved in their lives, they see our testimony and we may even be able to teach them a bit about love. We've done it a few times here with kids even moving into our home after being kicked out of their own. I'm not talking about an adult here (although I think it works for them too) but children who just have bad life circumstances. It's not about "winning them over" but teaching them that the "other way" works. When you never have experienced love, you don't know what love is. When all your life you've heard you're worthless, you don't even matter to God. THAT'S often what these kids are getting.
     
  20. Trotter

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    I grew up a pagan, a heathen. I was never exposed to any youth ministry, but sorely wish now that I had.

    What youth need is the truth. They don't need a friend, or a confidante, as they already have those. They need someone who will be straight up with them and not pull any punches. You have already said you had gotten too close to the situation and this is what prompted me to post at all.

    As was said above, you are to wave the sign, to show them Jesus. Jesus was not always lovey-dovey, nor was He a push over. He wept over Jerusalem, but He also let those chips fall where they may knowing that they would not listen even to Him.

    Never forget that girl, or any of the others. Keep all their names somewhere and call out for them... even en years from now. You aren't called to save them (and you couldn't anyway... that the Lord's work), but you are called to minister to them, to teach them, to show them the truth. Teens want someone who won't back down from their beliefs, and you have shown that in that the girl chose not to come live with you and your wife because she knew you wouldn't back down. They may act like they don't want anyone telling them anything, but they want ad need limits. God outlined those limits in His word and those kids need to hear that.

    They also need to hear that Jesus is the only way. Just saying it won't reach them... it has to be proven by both your life and God's word. It's not easy reaching teens with God's truth... I know because I have worked with them before. Some react to reason, some to evidence, some to contrasting His truth and the world's version. but, in the end, you are the only watchman on the walls of these kids lives. I will be praying for you, brother. Keep up the good fight.
     

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