Youth Ministry, Parenting, Graduation, And Rocket Launching 101

“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.

Remove the safety rodTake away the safety nets in ministry  and prepare them to succeed and allow them to fail in their spiritual journey.

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.

Your Turn

How confident are you  in the “rocket” you’ve built as a parent or as a youth worker?

How far do you  think it will go?

What “rockets” are you currently building?

 

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