I love telling kids I miss them. Now, I don’t necessarily like that kids were missing from the event or meeting but I love to tell them that I missed them. I know how it makes me feel when someone misses me. They are saying, “You are valuable. You presence is important and we know when it is not among us.”
If you are not telling kids they are missed, shame on you. You’re missing an opportunity to affirm a kids existence. You can take this to the next level.
I do my best to text parents the next day to let them know I missed their kids. I also tell them in person and they know me well enough that I’m not making a big deal about attendance. I am telling them that I value their kids. I have an opportunity to tell parents that I value what their kids bring to the youth meeting/ministry
Presence – They make a difference in our group
Leadership – Their example/influence makes a difference.
Servanthood– They offer their gift of practicality and helps.
Voice – They add value to our worship and ministry time
Compassion – They have open hearts and welcoming arms
Communicating with parents about the value of their children, to you, the ministry, and the world, is just as powerful as telling the kids themselves.
It’s a lonely world. Kids need to hear it. Parents need to hear it. You need to hear it. “Hey! I missed you.”
“If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be who I am.” These are the words a parent loves to here, except the kid who said them to me wasn’t my son. The student who shared these kind words with me, and many others, is a student I’ve been ministering to for the past six years.
Over the past six years his family got divorced and became a hot, contentious mess. Recently, his grandfather passed away. He was the Pastor of a local church that allowed our church to use their facility after a tornado took our church. After his passing, his son took over the church (the students uncle) and recently expressed to his nephew he’d like him to join in in some kind of ministry capacity.
I was helping build a rocket in our youth room. It took six year but it’s finally launched. I can’t be surprise or shocked, I expected it. This young man and I had many conversations about ministry and I gave him plenty of opportunities to serve and Voila! The rocket launched.
It’s graduation season and parents and youth workers share a common goal, to launch kids well. [bctt tweet=”I believe we’re either in the process of launching kids or in the process of losing them” username=”@paulturnertoo”] and there is a process for launching good rockets (students) that both parents and youth workers can follow.
We’re building rockets in our youth rooms
Building the model rocket is not necessarily the hard part. It comes with instructions and you need some glue, tape, stickers, etc. There are many hands involved, primarily a parents hands, along with teachers, youth pastors bosses etc. Scripture shows us how to disciple young people, impart wisdom, and gives us examples of great leaders and how they became great.
According to WikkiHow there’s a proper way to launch a rocket and we can learn from this process
Find a field long and wide – Expand your ministry so kids can use their gift and talents in a variety of ways and not just in ways that we enjoy or are comfortable with.
Set the launch pad in the center of the field – Level the playing field and give every kid a chance to lead and they’ll have a chance to launch.
Load the motor – Jesus is the power, through the Holy Spirit. There is no launch without Him. “You can do nothing with out me” John 15:5
Recover System – Apart from the kind of paper wadding you use, recognize if your rocket has a some kind of recovery system such as a streamer or parachute. Not all launches go as planned. If a kid launches too soon or heads for the trees, you want to be able to bring him or her back and tray again.
Place the Igniter – What will spark this launch? Who knows, ever kid is different. What fires up one kid will not fire up another. We need to look for the igniters, the things that fire kids up and get them actively using the gifts God has given them for His glory.
Connect the Clips – Put in place the method for a launching which include ministry opportunities, time in mentoring, time in prayer, etc.
Step Back – We can’t do it all. There has to be a time of separation where a students grow in the dark, so to speak, and learn to follow the leading of the Spirit. Besides, stepping back gives you the view of the launch.
Begin the countdown – If all things are connected and the prep work has been done, turn the key around their Junior year and start the countdown to launch.
What if it doesn’t launch – Wait for it. There just may be a relayed reaction. Maintain hope, you built a rocket and rockets are made to launch.
My friends asked me if i was sad when my daughter graduated from college and moved to another state for job. I told them, “No, I’m not sad, I been building a rocket in my house for 19 years, it would be shame not to see it launch.”
[bctt tweet=”The minute we start investing in a student, the clock starts ticking. ” username=”@paulturnertoo”]
Whether we’re parents or youth pastors, the process is similar. Our mindset is to launch and, if we have done our jobs, the outcome is the same, we get to see someone soar high and far into the sky and into the dreams and visions God has for them.
How confident are you in the “rocket” you’ve built as a parent or as a youth worker?