As a kid, my parents weren’t that involved in church. There was a time when half of my family had some friends in church and did some stuff around the church. But by and large I was the church-e-est of the bunch from about 5th grade until now.
- We are paid by, and charged to serve, the needs of 5% of the population who pay our salary.
- We are called by, and charged by Jesus, to reach the 95% of the populations with our very lives. (Romans 12:1)
It’s not truly an either or situation. It isn’t that you need to make a choice to only serve Christian families or only serve non-Christian families.
Yet it is that you need to bear in mind that your youth ministry can’t assume that every family is like your “best” Christian families. My parents were actually very supportive of my church-life. They drove me to stuff. They paid for stuff. And even though they were only passively interested in the Christian life for themselves, they were highly appreciative that men and women were investing in my faith development.
Ultimately, Christian families aren’t your primary target audience. God is holding them responsible for their faith development of their children. Research shows that the biggest influence on the faith development of a child growing up in a Christian home is the parent… not the church. (No matter how cool the youth pastor is.)
How can we expect students who aren’t from Christian homes to bridge that gap and be a part of a ministry with constant parental involvement demands? That’s just not realistic.
To reach more people we don’t need a new program. We need a new strategy.
- Am I just off my rocker here?
- What are some ways you’ve had success engaging the general parent population in your community?
- Do you see Christian parents in your ministry as those you serve or those you empower to reach their peers with the Gospel?
- How do you, as a youth pastor or youth ministry volunteer, hold Christian parents of teenagers accountable to their responsibilities in the home?