Traditional Youth Ministry vs. Family Ministry

I suppose that one of the things that I am trying to do is blend the good things contained in traditional youth ministry with some elements of family ministry (hence this blog). Here are some thoughts about how traditional youth ministry hurts families from Chap Clark and Pamela Erwin in the book New Directions for Youth Ministry . My comments follow these points.

1. Not considering family times and needs when scheduling youth events
–>I try not to compete with families, especially at holidays, but it is also hard to coordinate everyone’s schedule. I think it more an attitude than anything – the youth ministry is not the be all and end all for the youth.
2. Assuming the role of parents
–>It seems to me that this can go both ways…sometimes parents want the youth pastor to assume the role of parents, or at least a baby sitter.
3. Making parents look bad
–>This can be a tendency if you are trying to hard to befriend youth and are looking for their approval. It is important to find the balance between becoming allies with parents and friends with the youth.
4. Not keeping parents informed
–>Because many pastors are more people oriented than detail oriented, this is a pitfall that many fall into. I am not the best at advance planning, but I am learning the necessity of it and the importance of it…for parents and youth, as well as myself.
5. Not encouraging or offering support for families
–>When I was younger and doing youth ministry, I do not think that I had the experience or wisdom to pull this off. I am finding this to be a particular important part of my ministry within the church. It is an extension of my work with the youth. I also understand more readily, having children of my own, the need for such encourgement and support.
6. Undermining parents judgement or authority
–>This is similar to number three above
7. Not including families in youth events
–>I think we could do more of this kind of thing at Calvary. It is important that we not always look for ways to segment the family or the church anymore than it already is.
8. Failing to connect teenagers with the extended church family
–>Also another area that bears more considerationa and planning.

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