Family Discipleship, Youth Ministry

Dear Youth Pastor,

I have been impressed with your ability to keep my child busy while I do “adult” church. Thank you for teaching my child how play messy games and to pull random things out of his pockets for a prize. I appreciate all you do.

Yours Truly,
Mrs. Church Parent

Obviously this is a “make-believe” letter. However, the church has somehow found itself in a strange place. This generation of youth parents has been programmed to rely on programs. The issue of who disciples my child is at the forefront of youth ministry today.

So this post is for youth pastors, who are seeking to change the culture of their perspective faith community.

Let’s look at some ways to get the “Family Discipleship” ball rolling in your church community.

Pray for your church leadership
This includes but not limited to: Pastor, Worship Leader and Children’s Director
Pray that the leadership of the church catch the vision of family ministry
Pray for the families represented in your faith community
Pray for parents to receive the direction you are trying to lead them in
Pray for the students to be bold when asking parents to lead
Pray for wisdom
Wisdom is much more than having knowledge about family ministry.
Wisdom is putting that knowledge into practice through picking the right leaders, presenting the right material and equipping families.

Get the Pastor on Board
The first person to have on your support team is the Pastor.
Youth Pastor it is time to leave your preconceived notions at the door, your pastor must be the first person on your team. Without the pastors support there is no balance for your ministry.

Model it
If your family is not involved in a family discipleship plan(FDP), forget about getting others on board.
FDP involves the following:
Prioritize it
Schedule it
Apply it
Involve other families
Seize it

Plan for it
When recruiting your team of youth volunteers, recruit the parents!
Parents need to see the value of being present
Plan your yearly activities with the family in mind
Keep your ministry Family friendly

Small Group
Start a small group of parents/families
Teach the principles of family discipleship from Scripture
Once you begin to change the mindset of parent, and they have ownership in family discipleship, the will begin to tell other parents about the vision of family ministry.

This post has been a collaboration of Ryan Marcum and Brian Smith. We have served as Youth Pastors exploring Family Discipleship in the local church. This is an on-going list and would love to hear from you! Leave a comment.

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