From the First/Third Event……………………………….Nancy Going

At last week’s FIRST/THIRD Event at Luther Seminary, Kenda Dean focused her first lecture by asking these questions:

“What if the problem with the American church is not the youth? What if the problem is the church?”

I know that statement gets youth ministry people like you and me all excited about the ways that statement underscores what we’ve been thinking for years. And the rest of Kenda’s lecture was about the following two statements:

1      The best way to stimulate spiritual health in a congregation is to invest in the spiritual growth of young people.

2      The best way to stimulate spiritual health in young people is to invest in the spiritual growth of their parents.

Again something that you and I might already know, but are we doing it?  Or are we complaining about their parents?  Are we fighting with the priorities of their parents? Are we focusing on the spiritual growth of parents in such a concentrated way that it will actually have an impact on their young people?

Instead, how could we prioritize and develop the kinds of relationships with parents that will allow them to see us as a partners?

These insights of Kenda’s are borne out by the both the NSYR study and in these Exemplary churches.  Look at the first of the 44 Faith Assets related to the family:

Possess Strong Parental Faith: parent(s) possess and practice a vital and informed faith

If you were to add just ONE asset to your ministry, why not this one?

Dr. Nancy Going is a 20 some year veteran of congregational youth ministry.  She coordinates the Distributed (distance) youth ministry students at Luther Seminary.  She did her PhD research by interviewing adolescents from the Exemplar congregations.

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