Dear Church Family,
The Summer is already drawing to an end, and as I look back, I can’t believe how much time I’ve been able to spend with our students. We’ve been on mission, gone to camp and went white water rafting, went exploring in the City Museum in St. Louis, gone canoeing, had pool parties, and will have finished our Middle School Mission Week by the time you read this. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the time spent and ministry done with our students this Summer! The Fall semester is well primed with what the Lord has been doing in the lives of our students.
One thing that I have enjoyed the most this year is that for several of our events, we have had parents involved and investing in the lives of our students. From retreat earlier this year to camp, canoeing, and pool parties this summer, parents tend to make student events much more beneficial. There’s just something about having a parent or two (or several) to bring their perspectives to the lives of the students. The biggest way parental involvement helps students is that it allows the students to see parents as normal people too. Parents were teenagers once. They grew up, made mistakes, and had to learn from them. But many students rarely see that. During student events, parents become more than just a mom or dad, though. They become an Adult Leader! As an Adult Leader, the students get to see these parents in a different light. Now they are just normal people living out the same gospel and journey of life as the kids. The students start to identify with the older generation as parents serve the students and open up about their walk with Christ. This is something we should celebrate and seek to duplicate. Here’s why:
The number one reason why students leave the church when they graduate is because they lack relationships with adults in the church. I don’t have to cite this information, because it is in every student ministry book, survey, and website out there. If this is true, then we need parents to be invested in the lives of the students of our church. This does not mean just investing in their own students… If every parent intentionally and prayerfully invested the gospel in the lives of their children, then that would be spectacular! But even more is called upon us. We are also called to intentionally and prayerfully invest the gospel into the lives of our children’s friends and acquaintances. That simply means that we are supposed to care about the salvation and growth of the other students in our church as well as our own. We all agree with this, but practically this means giving time and resources to serve and build relationships with students and include them into our lives. This looks like helping out in the Children’s Ministry and Student Ministry, serving and investing weekly. It can easily look like helping out with a Student Event! It needs to look like letting your kids invite their unsaved friends over for dinner and then to church on a Wednesday night. For a start, it might simply look like saying hello to some students on a Sunday morning and getting to know their names. Whatever it may look like in your context, the question is, are you intentionally and prayerfully investing the gospel in the younger generation? If the answer is no, but you want that to change, come talk to me about Student Ministry or Pastor Bryan Gotcher about Children’s Ministry… we can help you get started!
Brian Van Doren