"The most powerful impact upon a child's ethical, moral, and spifitual development is the relationship with the parents. It is 300 times gerater than the church." -- Josh McDowell
Signs Student Ministries believes that parents must take the initiative of the spiritual development of their own children and to assist in the spiritual development of the next generation of believers.
In fact, we believe that parents are the heart of youth ministry.
7 Tips That Will Help your Teen Become Established In Their Walk with Jesus Christ
1. Parents Must Have A Personal Relationship With God.
The way you as a parent model your relationship with your Heavenly Father will enhance your child’s relationship with Him. It is easy to talk about or tell your child about the importance of a relationship with God, but your example will always speak louder than any words you could choose. Ask yourself, what visual evidence has my son or daughter witnessed of my relationship with God?
2. Assure Teens of God’s Unconditional Love.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, and whoever believes on Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Whoever believes? Not whoever is perfect. Not whoever is good enough. Not whomever does enough stuff right. Whoever believes? That’s as unconditional as it gets.
Ask your child to list the ways God’s unconditional love has been demonstrated in their life.
3. Surround Them With Positive Christian People.
If you want your son to be a good basketball player you surround him with the best coach you can. If you want your daughter to be the best cheerleader you surround her with great cheerleaders. The same principle applies to spirituality. If you want him and her to be spiritual, then you surround them with the strongest spiritual people. The decision to grow is still in the hands of the child, but the likelihood of following Christ is better in the right surroundings.
4. Talk With Them About Their Spiritual Life.
This may be uncomfortable at first, but like anything else the more you do it the easier it becomes. Ask about their walk with God and about specific prayer requests. Allow spiritual discussion to become a normal, healthy communication process in your home. Soon you will find your adolescent sharing details and prayer requests without prodding.
5. Know What Is Being Taught In Your Teen’s Youth Group.
It is our responsibility as parents to spiritually nourish our children, but Bible classes can offer valuable support to our efforts. Why is it important that you know what is being taught? First, so you can apply the lessons they learn in the classroom at home. Second, you need to be sure that what your child learns coincides with your personal belief in God’s word.
6. Encourage Your Teen To Listen to Christian Music.
What kid doesn’t listen to music? It’s a challenge to get their headphones off long enough to get the homework completed in many homes. Since young people will listen to music, let’s encourage them to listen to positive music with god-filled lyrics.
7. Teach and Model Forgiveness.
How good is your “done wrong” memory? Do your kids hear you repeat the same names and situations time and time again with bitterness? Or do they pick up on the way you forgive and forget?
The final result will be when we let the joy of the Lord shine through us our children will learn that life in Jesus is real LIFE.
Twenty Four hours a day, seven days a week, we need to be vigilant. Vigilant to guard our own hearts and to guard the gift that God has entrusted to us as parents and leaders.
Remember, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour ( 1Peter 5:8). Below are seven simple questions... see how you are doing.
1) Am I Doing All I Can Possibly Do To Get My Family To Heaven?
John Maxwell says, "I am responsible to you, not for you." We cannot force our kids to follow God, but we can provide every resouce and instruction needed for them to make their own decision. Find a quite spot and list at least five ways that you are now using to get your family to heaven. Write them on paper so you will be able to see them often. Once a week, pull out the sheet to remind yourself of the priority of God in your home.
2) Do I Really Have a Balanced Lifestyle?
Is my lifestyle balanced in such a way that my family has quality and quanityt time? Do I keep things such as sports, shopping, or other activities i n the proper place in my life? What is my home life centered around? This is a very important question, because we will be saying to our child what is the most important.
3) Am I Being A True Witness For Jesus?
Our teens will be able to see our spirituality as well as hear us talk about it. Do we walk the walk as much as we talk the talk in our witness for Jesus? Do we have people in our home, teach a class, or study and pray on a regular schedule? Do our teens see us involved in witnessing? Is God first in our lives? Remember, they will reflect what they see us do.
4) Am I Teaching My Family What They Need To Survive In This World?
"Survive" is a true term for today's society More than ever our children need to know how to. As Harvey McCay puts it... swim with the sharks without getting eaten alive. What am I teaching my teens at this point to help them survive in this world? What am I teaching my teens to help them get ready to leave home for college or the business world? Life will have its good times and not so good times. How we respond to it makes the difference.
5) Do I Challenge My Teen Appropriately?
Often, we as parents, and especially dads, challenge our teens to do their best in sports; however, are we challenging them in other areas of their lives? Do we challenge them to be all they can be in their faith? Do we challenge them in things that matter to God?
6) Am I An Encourager?
Do I encourage my teen in all areas of his/her life? Do I allow them to fail and then to do better the next time? Praising is also a way of disciplining your teen. Usually when we think of discipline, we think of it in a negative way; such as, being put on restriction or having their car taken away for the weekend. It is highly possible that your teen will do better because you are a great encourager.
7) Do I Allow My Family To Become Involved In Watching And Listening To Negative Media?
We do not have to be told many times how bad television, movies, and music can be on our teens if used in a negative way. How many murders o they see a year on television? How many sex scenes do they see on television and at the movies in a year's time? Have you listened to the words of their newest CD? Take time to preview what they are watching and listening to through the media.
At the risk of sounding over the top, unchecked media is an invitation for Satan to infiltrate our hearts. His key is making media so subtle, and so innocent. As long as we are watching it and not doing it, we feel justified. Yet, God calls us to holiness not just in our action, but in our lifestyle.
PROVIDING SPIRITUAL DIRECTION FOR YOUR TEEN
> I have been involved in youth ministry for over 30 years now, and I have seen a lot of fads come and go. Every gimmick, new program, and new idea to involve, excite, teach and train young people to put their focus on what matters, and that is Jesus Christ and His purpose for that young person's life. Some fo these have been good and some not so good.
> One thing I have noticed over the last 10 to 15 years is that more and more activites in young people's lives are taking the priority over God, family, and church. I can't tell you how many times I have had a parent come to me and say "Gary, I raised my child in a Christian home and in a Bible based church, but now he or she wants nothing to do with church."
> We are losing our young people at an alarming rate. When I talk with other youth pastors, they say they have the same challenge. "How can we keep our youth involved?" It seems like we are trying to compete with the world. This has been a gradual thing and we can even see the evidence of this in young adults who are not committed to God and His church.
> Studies indicate that 70% of young people from evangelical churches drop out of church within two years of high school graduation. (The Religious & Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, University Press, 2005)
> Don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that we should not allow our kids to be invoved in baseball, football, art, band, dance, or any other activity that can become a focal point in the lives of our children. It does not have to be any of these... it could be the time share, or lake house that you got with good intent of keeping the family together.
> What I believe needs to happen is that we must have balance and focus on what is really important. A kingdom focus is what we must have before anything. I know as a youth pastor, my #1 purpose in ministry is to disciple that teen to help them live and serve Jesus Christ with eternity in mind. And, you also as a parent must ask yourselves the ultimate question: