Parents Won't Let Them Go To Church
I am a youth leader of a small group and I have a couple teens that haven't come to church or youth group cause there parents won't let them, they were coming real regular to both and now with sports at school and on Saturday they aren't coming. I was wandering how I can talk to the teens and parents about this and how to confront them about the problem? Got any ideas??
Teresa, Indiana, USA
Thanks for the email.
That's always tough. But when you have parents that don't make church a priority, usually non-believing parents, then there's not much you can do to force the issue. As a matter of a fact that's the last thing you want to do, “force” the issue or “confront” them.
The “unchurched” have a pretty poor conception of the church. See my article on “Understanding and Reaching the Unchurched Teen”.
One truth that always sticks out in my mind about people who don't go to church, is the fact that they feel that the church doesn't care for their needs. When they think of church- they think of a judgmental group of people who are eager to confront- and who only want their money. So the last thing I want to do is appear like that group.
What I do is show them more love than they can imagine. I visit the kid's sports games. I'm there for them when they need someone. I take the kids out for a milk shake every once in a while, just to see how they're doing. Love is an action. It speaks much louder than words.
There was a small elementary school in poor area of Kentucky that had a breakfast and lunch program that fed most of the children. Lunch programs were common, but this breakfast program was a great service. Kids would come to school early and get muffins, juice or milk. Poor families in the area counted on this program, because it provided two meals a day free for all their children, five days a week.
State budgets changed and the funding was cut for the breakfast portion of the program. A neighborhood church that sat right across the street from the school had a quick meeting. A team of ladies committed to volunteering their time and others put a budget together. The church contacted the school and told them that they would continue the breakfast program- no strings attached. The school gladly accepted.
Children would now come to the church before school and get fruit, a muffin and some juice or milk. The church didn't require children to listen to any message, the church didn't hand out tracts with the napkins . . . they could just get breakfast and simply walk across the street to school.
Something happened. Local families starting taking an interest in this church that cared about their community, their children. Mothers started coming to the church saying “I want to check out this place that cares enough to feed my kids breakfast every day. Attendance in the church shot way up- because of breakfast.
That's the way I would like to see us bring people back to church. Not because we confront them . . . but because we show them the irrestible love of Christ that draws them in like a tractor beam.
Hope that helps.
The Source for Youth Ministry
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.