Spirituality and Teens- The “churches” job or ours?

My boys love going to youth group at church.  They look forward to it, they are upset if we have to miss (because they have strep throat, for instance) and even tell their friends how much fun they have at church.

I love that they feel this way about going to church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. We discuss what they are learning on the way home and I am amazed (and sometimes amused) by what they have taken away from the lesson.

A few weeks ago I found myself a bit frustrated because the boys had gotten in the car for a few groups in a row with nothing concrete to share.  Questions like “what are they doing down there?”, “don’t they have a plan?” came out of my mouth.  Critical, unkind and judgmental words.

Great example, mama.

I was quickly convicted that my words were wrong.  I apologized to the boys and that night I laid praying about my quick tongue (it really gets me in trouble some times).  I was just as quickly convicted that my heart was not in the right place.

My child’s relationship with God is not the churches responsibility or the youth pastors responsibility.  It is my responsibility.


The bible points us to raising a child in the way he/she should go (live by example, get your child comfortable with the Word).  Darn it, there is not a word in there about youth pastors.

While I think that youth pastors have an incredible opportunity to make an impact on teens and tweens, their role by no means alleviates the responsibility to instill values, teaching and a love for the Word in our own children.

Does this make sense?  Do you feel the same way or disagree?  What about kids that aren’t being raised in Christian homes?  Discuss with me in the comments

And~if you have written a post about teens/tweens that you would like to showcase please put the permalink to the post in the MckLinky below.

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  1. todayscliche says:

    Oh my goodness… what a great post!! I'm trying to stay on a schedule this morning (AND not be late! HA!) so can't write now… but wow. THought provoking. Must come back and post something!

  2. Sometimes I think we need to question what is going on at the youth groups. The responsibility still lies on the parents. At time I question the churches leadership on how the introduce subjects. Do they really need to being things up, some children do not even have that thought in their head, so is it right for the leadership to put it there?
    You are right in some times apologizing for things said, but we are human and do say things that are not appropriate at the time. However, I have found that sometime are words make our teens think. It surprised me the other day when she told a christian friend to stop doing something we had been complaining about and she had said he doesn't do that. It opened her eyes to the fact he does. They are learning sometimes through our eyes.

    • That is an interesting point! I think that often times the youth pastors
      are more cognizant of issues relevant to the kids than we are because they
      spend more time with kids that age. I would rather my kids hear about
      something from a pastor than from their peers–do you know what I mean? And
      you are so right about the fact that our kids learn from what we say AND
      what we do. Thanks for your input!!

  3. I agree completely! We have to live it before our children. We have to teach it. We have to make it real. I actually posted a few weeks ago about this very issue, but it's not specific to teens. Would you like me to link it up? Take care my friend!

    BTW, if I didn't tell you before, I am very excited we get to meet at Relevant. YAY!

  4. This is such a timely post for me. We have just left our church of 12 years because of a serious lack of youth programs. They just don't see it as a priority and I felt like my kids were being short-changed when all we had to do was switch to a church where the programs were already in place, but it is such a wrench. That church is our only family and it is hard to be in a new congregation where we don't know many people. I did write a very heart-felt letter to the elders begging them to make some changes and they have invited me to come and share some of my ideas with them, but it will take a long time to build up the programs and I feel like my kids need something “now”. Youth Group was such a big deal for me growing up and I want that experience for them too. It's a tough call.

    • Leaving a church after that long must have been a difficult decision! That
      is one of the things I love about my church youth program- it is fun and
      relevant. My kids enjoy going. To have your 13 yr old and 12 yr old asking
      to go to church is huge for me. That is why the content of what they are
      learning became less important than the fact that they WANT to be there. I
      hope that you find that for your boys (whether it be at your old church or a
      new one!) Thanks for commenting!!

  5. I did get it linked up. Thanks for letting me share. I would love to know what you think. Take care my friend!

  6. LOVE this … so true! And one of those things I have been very focused on remembering. Just as I have not ceded my daughter's academic growth to the school she attends, I have not given over my responsibility for her spiritual formation to our church … as wonderful as our church is!!

  7. I grew up attending a private, Christian school and each year we had those kids who's parents sent them there as a last ditch effort. The parents weren't even necessarily Christians. Those parents thought that it was the school's job to instill good morals and the foundations of right behavior in their children. I would love to be able to send my children to private school someday (my oldest starts K this fall), but whether I do or not it is still myself & my husband who are primarily responsible for teach and *modeling* what a true Christian walk is. My kids are still years away from being Tweens/teens, but based on how quickly the last few years have gone it's good to start thinking about this stuff now. Thanks for your advanced insight. 🙂

    • thank you for your comment. I can see how that could occur in a Christian
      school environment..once again parents relinquishing responsibility to
      someone else. Great thoughts!

  8. As a former pre-teen youth group leader, i love your take on this. I think too many parents tend to drop their kids off at church and leave the “job” to the leaders. It's a much better plan to continue to be actively involved in the spiritual growth of your children. Why leave something so incredibly important up to anyone but yourself?

  9. ps I am sad we never officially got to meet at Boot camp.

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