The people behind the Big Ideas in Youth Ministry Facebook page, Michelle Thomas Bush and Cliff Haddox, launched a podcast earlier this month, and after listening to its crisp launch, I’m excited to have it in my feed.
Oh, and my colleague Shelley Donaldson is the first guest.
Cliff, Michelle, and Shelley discuss the role of youth ministry in helping parents negotiate connection with their teens. I’m glad for that, because this is an aspect of ministry with students that has given me fits.
On mission trips, for example, when we ask students to leave phones at home, invariable some phones are spotted throughout the week, and the justification is always, “My parents wanted me to bring it.” My standard response is to grind my teeth. But I’ve been feeling lately that remaining resigned to frustration is not what’s expected of me. Further, it does nothing to accompany youth and their parents into some pretty important life and faith territory.
Parents struggle just as hard with a week of separation from their teenagers as the teenagers do. Whatever help I can provide with that struggle I want to provide.
Yet I don’t understand that struggle as thoroughly as I might, because I haven’t endured it. I’m not the parent of a teenager yet. I think I have some learning to do to adequately grasp 1) what that struggle is really about for parents and 2) what a given parent actually wants in terms of a connection to their emerging adolescent. I don’t quite feel like I have anything to teach them about that just yet.
The episode puts an important element of ministry with youth today on the table, and for that I’m grateful. Because this is a condition of contemporary life begging for some curious inquiry from the youth ministry community.