Something for Consideration

Discussion in 'Youth Forum' started by Shortandy, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Shortandy

    Shortandy
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    I have been asked on the other thread to offer up an alternative approach to student ministry. I will gladly do so but first I would like to point out that this is simply thoughts from my own personal reading and reflection on the matter. I do not have all the answers...just some thoughts. It will be interesting to see where we are at the end of this thread. If you completely disagreed with me on the previous thread then this one will make your head hurt for sure but I welcome any thoughts, good or bad.

    First thing we must do is see what the bible clearly teaches on the discipleship of children. In Deut. 6 and Ephesians 6 its obvious that the home; the family; is central in God's plan for discipleship. Just chew on the magnitude of Eph. 6:1-3. The first commandment with a promise. How huge is this truth?? The first 4 are really a big deal yet it is the 5th commandment that God attaches a promise to. So there can be no doubt that the family is the primary and most important place for discipleship. I don't think this is too bitter of a pill to swallow. The first created institution of God was the family, not the church. Therefore, any student ministry that exist must make the parents; the family; the primary focus of their ministry (equipping them and guiding them to disciple their children).

    A second passage of scripture I want to draw your attention to in the area of teaching young people is Titus 2. Older men and women teaching the younger. That is the model.

    Why do I draw attention to these 2 issues? Because the current approach actually works against them. Not that it is bad altogether; it just works against what we clearly see. All of our bible study is age graded in our churches. So how are the older teaching the younger? Most youth ministry mission statements reflect a counter-biblical approach in that we want youth discipling youth when Titus shows this is not to be. How can a young man teach another young man how to live like a muture man? The answer is: He cant!

    My proposed model would involve familes doing bible study and discipleship and worship together instead of splitting them up when they get to church. This model would provide a sound and biblical example to the kids whose parents are not saved. The youth pastor who is in his early 20's with gel in his hair can't be the father figure to the young man that is 16 whose dad is not saved. The youth minister is more like an older brother than a father. So let that young man study and worship with a family who has kids his age. Let that man disciple and teach that 16 year old boy how to be a Christian man.
     
  2. StefanM

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    While think the majority of your post is grounded, to make a parallel, how can a 28 year old pastor lead a congregation with senior adults?
     
  3. Shortandy

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    Great question? One that I ask myself everyday. My deacons have been the biggest help to me in this area because it is difficult...I'll be honest. But these men help me in the pastoral care of my flock..two of them in particular. They offer much insight and even guidance in handling the older membership in my church.

    But wouldn't you say there is a difference in in a Fully-grown adult leading anothe adult no matter the age? Your question is great but I think its apples to oranges.
     
  4. StefanM

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    If you're going to hold firmly to your application of the Titus example, then I think it is fair game. If the model is older teaching younger, then that is the model.

    It seems convenient for you to hold to the position that it is "apples and oranges."
     
  5. pk07

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    Shortandy,

    What about the teens who come to church on their own or with a friend and whose parents have no desire to be at church? These kinds of kids make up a significant percentage in many youthgroups.
     
  6. rbell

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    I applaud your emphasis on the home. Yes, it is sorely needed.

    However...when you define "older teaching younger"--are your definitions of "older" and "younger" Biblically informed, or just defined by your preferences?

    Let me be the first to say we need to have our seniors say more to our students. But that doesn't mean a 26 year-old doesn't have something to say. But it's also important for that 26 year-old to be discipled...and many youth ministers fail here.
     
  7. Shortandy

    Shortandy
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    First off read the passage. Older women teach the younger how to manage a home; to love their husbands and children. My wife has a home and a family. She graduated from being the young woman in this passage. Can we always use the inisight of those older than us...sure but we are adults not children. Same for me and older men. This thread is about student ministry. Your line of argumentation is straw-man. This is, again "apples to oranges" my friend.

    Now if you want to discuss a young pastor leading older members...start a new thread for that. I would be more than happy to comment.
     
  8. Shortandy

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    That was addressed in the first post. Go back and read it.
     
  9. Shortandy

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    Correct...a 26 year can have plenty to offer any of our teens. In the post I am not even suggesting that all the or any of the leaders of our students have to be seniors. With a family-style emphasis on worship and discipleship I feel the primary leaders should be the parents of these youth. If the students doesn't have a parent in church let them worship and be discipled by another family. Again, its not that the 26 or 28 year old has nothing to offer but even you must admitt its tough for the 26 year old to be a true father-figure to a an older student. But a man who has kids in that age demographic would have much more influence. Why the parents? Because they are helded responsible by scripture for the discipleship of their children. Nowhere in the Bible is that given to the church.
     
  10. StefanM

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    1) I disagree that a youth minister even has to function as a father figure. This is a fundamental assumption of the OP. A role model, yes, but why a father figure?

    2) While this idea seems interesting, I do not see how it would function in our current society. A great number of kids resent their parents, and a model like this might very well drive all of those kids down the road to another church with a standard model. You can say that this isn't the biblical ideal all day, but the reality is that we must minister to the kids in the state they are. If they are not saved or are immature in the faith, then we must adjust our approach at times until growth occurs.

    3) I think that age-graded models are not as bad as you seem to indicate. A 16 year old and a 46 year old are not always going to need the same level or topic for biblical training. I could see some modification here; I think the idea of the youth sitting together at church was a horrible concept. For Sunday School, though, I don't see a problem.

    4) As far as parental involvement goes, I would love to have all parents involved.
     
  11. pk07

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    I did read it. You said it would be a Biblical example to the kids whose parents are not saved. But it isn't very likely to bring those parents in on your plan.

    A teen sometimes has a hard enough time finding a place in a group of his age. But thrusting him into a room full of other families while he is a alone is intimidating and would make him feel even more left out. It is yet another way to run someone off.

    And I agree with StefanM's last post. Especially point number 2. Seeing my youth group and hearing them whine about their parents so much, I know for a fact that they would hate the idea being in class with their parents, and it would make some of those kids leave, which is what you're trying to prevent. Also, there wouldn't be an opportunity to touch on youth related issues in a class of a wide variety of ages. Sunday School is divided by age for that very reason - so that people can study the Bible together and address the issues that they would all be going through at the same time.
     
  12. Shortandy

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    I have addressed that the typical, young youth pastor cant be the father figure anyway. But the bible places spiritual headship with the men; for the fathers are specifically addressed as the ones who should be teach their children in Deut. 6 and Ephesians 6. And I agree that many students recent their parents..isn't that funny. For the past 30 years the chruch has been telling them "your kids don't like you and you don't understand them so let us do the discipling."..."Dont try this at home." While I never said the age graded models where bad I did say they are obviously not working and they do clearly go against the model of Titus 2.
     
  13. Shortandy

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    What make a student feel welcomed or not is really a matter of opinon now isn't it? Example: a 16 year old student at you church could build a relationship with another 16 year old boy whose parents don't attend. He could make that young feel comfortable and welcomed. Likewise the parents of the first boy could open up their home and their time to the boy with unchurched parents and make him feel welcomed. We have to get over this whole attitude that kids are just weird and different and are incapable of functioning with others. By the way running them off is really of no consequence becaue as we have already seen we are loosing then anyway after their freshman year of college.

    Now I do respect the comments about how age-graded classes help hit the issues that a particular demographic is going through. But let us go back the centrality of the home and family in God's plan for discipleship. If the fathers are charged to disciple their kids then logically that means helping them with those issues they face. Therefore it would be benefical to have fathers in a room filled with students helping their own kids and those with unchurched parents deal.
     
  14. just-want-peace

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    Personally I think one of the reasons kids don't want to be with their parents is BECAUSE the church started the separation process.

    I'm on the wrong side of 70 now, and I can remember when I was a teen I wondered about the church's emphasis on "family", while at the same time virtually everything going on in the church broke everybody up into age groups. Now, in my current church, the only time there's a service for ALL is Sun AM. Everything else is separated by ages.

    Right now we are lucky in that we have a youth pastor that is "bringing in the sheaves", but there have been some in the past that were apparently nothing more than "moral social directors". Now the "moral" part is fine, but when that's basically all there is, the youth director is nothing more than a source of entertainment for the kids.

    WRONG goal for the church!

    I think a youth centered program is great, BUT, if it's not created and run with the goal of reaching them for Christ, then it may as well be a High School prom sans the drinking.
     
  15. GrapeApe

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    Why can't he?

    Someone who is spiritually mature can't teach one who isn't? I don't believe that.
     
  16. Shortandy

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    If the kids in your youth group that have parents who are saved feel that way then something is wrong my friend. Parents are charged in the scriptures to disciple and if the it is mandated in the Bible then the church better do its very best to help parents and not hinder them instead of pouring more gas on our students fire. So I am sorry the whole "parents and students just cant get along bit" is something I don't but in to.
     
  17. Shortandy

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    Lets back up and apply the logic that others are offering on this isse. We don't want to put our teens in bible study classes with their moms and dads because they just can't get along. I don't see that in scriptrue at all. So we put them in classes that are aged graded so they can discuss the issue they are all currently experiencing and going through. If that statment is true then how can one teen adiquately mentor another teen if he is experinceing the same things? Again no one has offered chapter and verse to go with their opinoins.

    Yet, as previously stated in Titus 2 the model is clear; younger men being taught by older. Why are we not doing what is clearly spoken of? Thats my question.
     
  18. pk07

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    Fact is, most of the kids in my youth group do not have parents who are saved. And that's the case in many youth groups all over the place.
     
  19. StefanM

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    Same here, pk.
     
  20. Shortandy

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    That is a true statement for many youth groups. But how does that excuse validate the current approach? Some scripture would be beneficial to your view.
     

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