Vicki was going to speak on "Reaching Families without Sacrificing Spiritual Orphans in Youth Ministry", or at least that was the suggested title within the notebook we were all given to contain our scribblings. As to the topic, I think she touched on it here and there.
What it felt more like was a session titled, "Here are some really good points, with some compelling filler from a woman who cares a lot." :)
The points were all over the map:
- She read from the now-very-popular and often-linked story from CNN about the massive amounts of teenagers who "fake" being a Christian due to the life situations they find themselves in....but as they grow find other interests. Some good stuff there, I'd recommend it to all parents, for sure.
- She commented on how ridiculous amounts of parenting books exist for expecting parents, parents of newborns...etc. They are among the top sellers nationwide. But the list of parenting books for discipling teenagers, and young adults? Very few. And even fewer the parents who take advantage of such resources.
- At one point, she read some "Letters to the Editor" from "Seventeen Magazine" from the mid-1940's. Surprising to hear parents thank the publication for their fine attention to moral standards, and for being such a positive influence on young women. I don't suppose they receive too many of those messages these days.
- Courtney emphasized 3 common parental traits among youth raised in the church who leave religion:
1. Parents model something OTHER than the Love of God as their primary affection.
2. Parents fail to acknowledge their role as the primary discipler of their child.
3. Parents/leaders can often focus more on behavior modification than heart inhabitation.
As she moved toward closing, she reminded the audience that her words were not meant only for parents of children/teens, and youth pastors. That being "primary source" of discipling doesn't end when they move out of the house. Sure, it'll take on different forms, but at no point in the life do we find ourselves smacking our left knee saying, "I messed up."
I like that. And it's a good reminder/Hope for parents who hear all of this late in the child's life...you're not done! Encourage them into relationship with other Godly adults, and seek to live toward Christ and His bride yourself. And pray....pray.....pray. :)
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