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The Problem of Parents

The Problem of Parents

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Published by Joseph Horton

In this provocative article, the late youth ministry legend Mike Yaconelli is hard on parents who don't take the faith formation of their children seriously.

In this provocative article, the late youth ministry legend Mike Yaconelli is hard on parents who don't take the faith formation of their children seriously.

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Published by: Joseph Horton on Jan 30, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Problem of Parents
 By Mike Yaconelli
What's the biggest obstacle to effective youth ministry? Parents.Strange, isn't it? The people who most benefit from our ministry with theirchildren are often the ones who create the most grief for our ministry.Why are young people stressed out? Parents.Why are young people obsessed with education, good grades, SAT scores,scholarships, college, college prep, pre-SATs? Parents.Who encourages many of our youth group to miss church, Bible study, camp, or aservice project because of football camp, hockey practice, cheerleading clinics,gymnastic tournaments, dance class? Parents.Who supports our ministries until their child has a negative experience, or isdisciplined, or is injured, or doesn't like youth group, or the music, or theircounselor, or a new sponsor, or the way the youth group is being run? Parents.Who complains to the minister, the board, the session, the deacons, the elders,when something goes wrong (bus broke down, it rained and flooded out yourtents at a service project, someone was hurt), but never goes out of their way toaffirm or encourage when the ministry is going well? That would be parents.Who automatically takes their child's side on any issue their son or daughter isupset about? Parents.Who has taught their son or daughter that deadlines, rules and boundaries, andcovenants are to be kept
unless they aren't kept and then it's "not a big deal," or"too harsh," or "not clear," or "not fair," or "not understood," or "too strict," or"broken by everyone," or "should have been approved by the pastor?" Parents.
Mike Yaconelli, “The Problem of Parents,” Youth Specialties, posted October 3, 2009,
www.youthspecialties.com/articles/the-problem-of-parents (accessed June 25, 2012).
Who complains that the youth group has too many programs? Parents.Who complains that the young group doesn't have enough programs? The sameparents when their son or daughter doesn't have enough to do.Who never talks to their children about sex? Parents.Who expects the youth workers to talk to their children about sex? Parents.Who complains that the youth worker's talk about sex was too explicit? The sameparents.Who never talks to their children about faith? Parents.Who complains when their child isn't interested in faith? Parents.Who complains to the pastor, other adults, and church leaders when the "wrongkind of kids" show up at youth group? Who's worried about the potential negativeinfluence these "wrong kids" could have on their "right" kids? Guess who.Who believes youth groups exist to create nice kids, who meet and marry othernice kids, who are encouraged to go to nice colleges, and get nice jobs and havenice children who then grow up to meet other nice kids in youth group? Parents.Who's the first to ask for your head when you encourage their children not toworry about college and worry about calling instead; when you suggest that theiryoung people don't go out for sports; when you suggest that following Jesus maycause the young people to be counter-cultural? Parents.Who's all in favor of their young people becoming serious about their faith?
Parents…as long a
s they don't take Jesus too seriously. Taking Jesus too seriouslymeans altering the parents' plans or vacation schedules, or causing the parents tochange their lifestyle, or worse, mom and dad's dreams for their children.So, what, Mike, you are anti-parent?No.

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