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Too busy to make disciples

I took a poll of ten youth pastors. They concluded that, “the biggest impediment for us in discipling our students is that school and all the other activities leave us with the scraps of their schedules.” Here’s what youth pastors are saying: “It seems like the majority of my ti…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I took a poll of ten youth pastors. They concluded that, “the biggest impediment
for us in discipling our students is that school and all the other activities
leave us with the scraps of their schedules.”
Here’s what youth pastors are saying:

“It seems like the majority of my time is taken on the
fringe kids and not on the discipleship kids.”

“The school systems are requiring more homework on top of
sports, and advanced level classes.”

“I’m too busy to meet with individuals on a regular basis –
just my group and then a small group of leaders.”

“Getting parents to
do anything as a group is incredibly frustrating and is usually very poorly
attended. I have a youth service that incorporates small groups. I would really
like to have some parents leading these groups; however, right now I only have
2 parents (both are fathers) who are currently involved out of 15 small group

“Just try to do any type of ministry to parents and see what
kind of response you get. Over and over again I’ve tried to do some kind of
parent support group, outreach, information session, etc., with no response.  I
reprint articles, make magazines available, have a whole library of resources,
and parents don’t take advantage of them.  Parents want a non-demanding activity
to put their kids in.

Just a few years ago one of our local high schools brought
in some big names for a workshop to help parents stay connected to their teens. Not one parent showed up.”

One youth pastor had advice:

1. Make sure that events you want parents to attend will
meet the spiritual needs of parents.

2. Empower parents.

3. Sell them the vision of the ultimate purpose of what
you’re doing.

Comments (4)

  • That is a problem I see a lot of. This is especially true in high density suburbia where there is high competition is schools. I’m not sure if it helps yet, but we have parents sign a discipleship covenant for their teens. In it, we say that we think discipleship is very important – more imprtant than band, sports, good grades or any other activity – and that we are very committed to discipleship. It’s not that we want to go to parents and hold them accountable for their teens missing. We DO want them to share our commitment and sometimes just having it written out for them helps them to remember or realize what they already know.

  • I like this – it’s a good idea. more youth pastors should cast a vision for what discipleship will look like and will cost.

  • hey seth,
    i just watched the promo video on YOUTUBE and thought it was pretty good. the part I thought really stood out to me was the place where you called the WR a pilgramiage (spelling)…I can believe in that for sure. Journey and Process…that is this generation

  • What are the symptoms? What is the underlying problem? What is a practical solution? Lets interact on this issue.

    #1 Parents are busy succeeding and/or surviving professionally and in the family. At work the mantra is “Commit more timework harder not necessariyly smarter and you can keep your job and provide for your family and the church.” The church does not generally speak into the professional life of a lawyer, doctor, educator, business person, etc.
    #2 Parents want their child to have a career where they can be at least in the middle class and certainly not have to live with them after high school or college. Society makes many promises to high school students and college students. It does not keep them all. But it has enough anecdotal success stories to create a climate of fear that if your child does not live up, the they will be poor. We need a set of stories that demonstrate that our discipling system produces a more effective and empowering result for teens. This does not mean a larger percentage going into ministry or missions. Sorry.
    #3 The public educational system was not designed to empower but to educate and create a literate population. This 18th century model is ineffective even if it is efficient. We created the public educational system. We can reform it for a 21st century global society. Big assignment. It will take a call from God.

    What is the underlying problem?
    Parents do not see Christianity as an empowering influence in their own professional or familiy lives so why should they make disicipling, intercessory prayer, etc., a priority skill set in their teen’s life?

    1. Body of belivers/small groups need to become involved in the career/vocational aspects of its members.
    2. Talk is necessary but not sufficient. The group needs to problem solve and find solutions for problems and opportunities for specific members.
    3. The group needs to empower people through challenges, networking and even financing.
    4. The group needs to be intercessory prayer people with very specific answerable/tangible outcomes that people can see for themselves God at work.
    5. When you have modeled this for the adult group members, then you will have earned the respect and trust to take on the children of the parents that you have successfully empowered/mentored.

Comments are closed.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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