Parents, Teens, and Discipleship. Help to Answer the Call
The Great Commission. Most of us are familiar with it as a central theme in our Bible lessons for as long as we can remember. You know, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” It’s quite a personal and direct order, and it’s interesting that the phrase “all nations” doesn’t specifically refer to particular countries or territories. The Greek word for nations (ethnos) is oftentimes used to describe “the human family,” which, of course, would include, first and foremost, our own families.
As responsible parents, we acknowledge and embrace roles in our children’s lives as primary caregivers who teach them how to navigate life’s struggles, help them develop a spiritual foundation, and be there to answer life’s hard questions. And as I’m sure you’ve noticed, the list of “hard questions” seems to be getting longer and more complicated all the time.
So here’s the question, “Are you prepared to prepare your teen”?
Barna published an article in 2018 entitled “Parents and Pastors: Partners in Gen Z Discipleship.” In it, data from their major study of Generation Z revealed that 82% of engaged Christian parents said that it was “very important” that their teens develop a faith that lasts into their adulthood, but only half had discussed with their teen Biblical perspectives on various topics, including sexuality and marriage. In addition, youth pastors responded that their biggest struggle in ministry, by far, is that of “parents not prioritizing their teens' spiritual growth.”
Full disclosure: there was a season where we had four teenagers in the house all at once, and to say that there were times that I felt unprepared would be a gigantic understatement. And still, nobody crashed and burned, and knucklehead teenagers somehow, over the years, metamorphosed into reasonable people who love the Lord. So my first word of encouragement is don’t panic, stay engaged, hold your ground, and by all means, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Most of us form our core values and assumptions between the ages of 10 and 20, so it’s vitally important to assess our discipleship priorities, methods, and opportunities with our kids—and adjust as necessary. The world is moving fast, but as parents, we can keep up.
We are not alone. There are great resources available. The following link contains some really good ones that can help you prepare and feel more confident as you continue to engage and lead the ones you love. https://www.lpcenters.com/sex-talks-for-parents-and-teens
Remember, it’s not about having’ the talk’ about any one topic. It’s about having one ongoing conversation that lasts a lifetime.
Tim Bonzelaar Director of Fatherhood Initiatives