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Whether you have kids or not, take advantage of the topic this week to think about your family and ministry and how they work together cooperatively—and how they fight each other.

The stages of kids in youth ministry vary…I’m in the thick of it right now:

NO KIDS
You are living the dream. You AND your spouse are doing great ministry together. You both have unlimited time and have little or no boundaries on time or energy. These are great years to do youth ministry—soaking up experience and experiences left and right.

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Today’s Kids Are Crying Out For Your Attention. Are You Listening?
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ONE KID/BABIES
Youth ministry remains pretty easy at this stage. You can just throw the little one into a car seat and let them sleep while you’re finishing up a late youth group night or volunteer meeting. Every once in a while you see shades of how this can’t last forever, but largely it isn’t a significant change…yet.

LITTLE ONES (I AM HERE)
This is where I’m living right now—my four kids are all 10 and under and are in our ministry lives 100%. My wife’s role has changed within the day-to-day ministry but that feels right after a little time. My kids are total insiders and get to jump in on some youth group activities and have lots of older friends who are in our youth group. At this stage the number of nights out matter so much, and balancing family and ministry is in its most crucial stage.

JUNIOR HIGHERS
This one is just around the corner for me—my goal is to make this a super fun stage having them in our ministry. For the first time in my life I’ll have a teenager—and he’ll be in my youth group! I won’t hide too much from my kids at this point about the realities of ministry, and hope to have very open and honest conversations with them so they see both the good, bad, and ugly of the church. As an added bonus, I would imagine there’s a big credibility gain with parents when you’re in it alongside them, too.
Where does it go from here? Honestly, I’m about to figure it out. I’ve talked to enough youth workers to realize it is possible to raise amazing kids that are healthy, balanced, and grounded while their parents lead a youth ministry. It’s definitely one of my lifetime goals.

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Today’s Kids Are Crying Out For Your Attention. Are You Listening?
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Those are a few of my thoughts; Kurt will share his tomorrow.

Take a minute to think about what stage you’re in, and your future family and youth ministry. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, too!
 

3 COMMENTS

  • Anonymous says:

    My husband and I have served in youth ministry from the time our oldest entered the youth, and she is preparing for her junior year of high school. Some of the key things we’ve done are to include her in the ministry (planning activities, running ideas by her, etc.)and to make sure there are other adults available for our daughter to talk to when needed. I have found that our relationship is closer since we’ve started including her in the ministry, and most of the youth expected her to have “the inside scoop” on things anyway, so it’s not been an issue for us if she really does. She helps with planning events, and serves beside us in reaching out to younger children. She’s currently helping with the transition into youth for her younger sister. I know some that feel they need to leave youth ministry if their children are there, but it was been a great experience for all of us so far.

  • Anonymous says:

    My husband has been volunteer youth leader for 9 yrs now while working his other full-time job which has made youth ministry certainly a team effort on our part. As our daughters have come into the youth group we would agree that this became our most challenging years.

    It was hard for our daughters to “share” their friends with us until they understood that’s what made youth group the best. Probably the most hurtful part is realizing that your own teenagers will talk bad about you (as their “unfair” parents) to their friends who of course happen to be the teens in youth group… This has definitely caused tension.

    The positive side has been for our girls to realize how plugged into the youth group they can become as leaders since they are with us so much and are able to offer insight or direction from a teen’s point of view, esp when planning outreach ministry.

  • Anonymous says:

    My husband has been volunteer youth leader for 9 yrs now while working his other full-time job which has made youth ministry certainly a team effort on our part. As our daughters have come into the youth group we would agree that this became our most challenging years.

    It was hard for our daughters to “share” their friends with us until they understood that’s what made youth group the best. Probably the most hurtful part is realizing that your own teenagers will talk bad about you (as their “unfair” parents) to their friends who of course happen to be the teens in youth group… This has definitely caused tension.

    The positive side has been for our girls to realize how plugged into the youth group they can become as leaders since they are with us so much and are able to offer insight or direction from a teen’s point of view, esp when planning outreach ministry.

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