Student Ministry July 2019
Dear Church Family,
Parents, what do you think is the number one most important influence in your child’s life? Would you say social media? What about video games? Maybe some would say their child’s friends? Steve Wright and Chris Graves site several sources in their book Apparent Privilege to show that for the vast majority of students, the number one most important influence in their lives are their parents. Not their peers, not their phones, not their games… their parents. Does that information come as a shock to you? It did to me when I first learned of it. I honestly couldn’t believe that about 70% of kids are actually more shaped by their parents than they are by the world around them. But then I asked the question: what kind of shaping is going on here?
I’m willing to wager that many of you did not know this reality either. But that’s kind of the point. Most parents don’t realize just how important their role in the life of their child really is. That being the case, many parents miss opportunities to lean into the positive influence they have in the spiritual formation of their student. Think about it like trying to play a video game but not knowing which button on the controller does what. You might know what you want to happen, you just don’t realize you have the ability to make it happen. If we forget the potential power that our role as parents has in the development of our children, then all the goals we have for their lives will be nothing more than dreams. If you are a parent, then God gave you that influence for a reason, and He wants you to use it… don’t forget about the influence you can have on your teenager’s spiritual development.
That said, what are your goals for your child? Seriously… what are they? Are they that your student would know Jesus and grow up into His maturity so they can enjoy Him and glorify Him forever? (Ephesians 4:14-16) There are certainly more hopes and dreams we have for our children. But are there any goals you have that may interfere with what the primary goal ought to be? Every parent must honestly answer, yes. At least sometimes. Maybe all the time.
What do we do if our goals for our children are wrong and ungodly? We do the hardest thing for any parent to do… we let go. Let go of ungodly, unhelpful goals. They aren’t goals so much as speedbumps to all the exciting things God wants to do our students’ lives. When we let go of ungodly goals and remember the real and powerful influence God has given us over their lives, we will begin to see the Lord work in them in a renewed and impressive way. Don’t be like parents of the world who want to let go of their influence and hold on to their idolized dreams. God has called us to something greater. With Him guiding us daily, we can do it.