Focus on parents to influence youth, minister says
August 7 2003 by Marv Knox , Associated Baptist Press

Focus on parents to influence youth, minister says | Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2003

Focus on parents to influence youth, minister says

By Marv Knox Associated Baptist Press

CHARLOTTE - Since parents are three times more likely to influence their children than the church, youth ministries must involve parents if they want to change teens, youth minister Spencer Good said.

Surveys of teens emphasize the importance of parents and family in shaping young people's lives, Good told participants in a ministry workshop at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's General Assembly.

"Forty-six percent of teens say their primary role model is a family member, not a pop icon or sports star," said Good, a youth minister at Lafayette Baptist Church in Fayetteville.

Asked to name their greatest influence, 47 percent of teens picked their parents, he added.

The second-greatest influence is church (cited by 16 percent), followed by peers (8 percent) and a relative other than a parent (4 percent), he said.

"Teens care and want parents involved, whether they admit it or not," he said.

"We need to get parents to 'pack the stands' (at church events for youth). If youth look to parents as role models, we need to get parents involved.

"If we're working with youth only, and not their parents, then we're sidetracking and trying to become (their) parents, which we're not," he said.

So youth ministries need to reach out to parents and partner with them in training and developing their teenagers, he said.

During dialogue, Good and many ministers in his seminar agreed a surprisingly high percentage of teens attend church without their parents.

This factor limits the depth of influence possible among teens, Good said.

The best way to get parents involved in church youth activities is to "plan good stuff," Good said.

He also suggested letting parents help plan some youth ministry events, as well as sponsoring meetings and ministries for parents without their children present.

A motivation for ministry to parents is the fact many parents need to develop parenting skills and need more information to help them help their children, according to Good.

"If parents are the influence, then we've got to educate parents first," he said.

Youth ministry should "fuse" with family ministry in the church and focus on the five purposes of the church - worship, discipleship, evangelism, fellowship and ministry, he said.

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8/7/2003 12:00:00 AM by Marv Knox , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments
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