By JD Morris
Have you taught the new XP3 Students series- Evolve?
If not, you need to! Evolve was the featured series in February 2012. It’s a great series that deals with the challenging relationship between teenagers and their parents. Specifically it talks about the fact that as kids become teens, the relationship with their parents becomes more complex. For this series the XP3 team added a bonus element to this series called the Parent XP — an experience that invites parents of your to “engage with the idea of how families change and grow.”
The Parent XP is set up for use during the small group time in session three. While the students go off to their usual small groups, parents stay behind to watch a video and discuss the topics that were talked about in the video. Some of the topics are:
– Establishing core values in your home
– Choosing which battles to fight
– The rationale behind having other trusted adult voices in a teens’ life
– The video wraps up with discussion on how the parent/student relationship evolves as the student grows.
Oftentimes, youth ministry is viewed as a replacement to parents for discipling their youth. So anytime the church can partner and equip parents with knowledge and skills about youth culture and how to engage them in a Godly way, everyone wins. Our job is not to replace parents but to empower and accompany them in this holy calling. Satan loves to pin Christians up against one another in power struggles so we forget that we are supposed to be fighting him. Don’t let that happen in the ministry God has called you to. Instead, work with the parents of your students to accomplish the goal that we all have, which is to make long-term disciples for Christ. The Parent XP will help you do just that. It will require extra planning and effort and may require coordination with other ministry leaders — but every extra effort is worth it.
I plan to use the Evolve Parent XP as part of the third small group session, just like the XP3 team suggests. The event will be promoted through email, Facebook, word of mouth, and I will send a formal invitation to each family so they know it’s a big deal. Also, I plan to run this event myself as the students go off with their small group leaders. This will allow me to interact with the parents and build relationships. I’m hoping this will springboard into our spring and summer months when I hope to visit each family in their home and lead a family Bible study with them with the goal of helping each family determine their shared core values.
You can use this Parent XP in many ways. Get creative with how you go about promoting it, implementing it and following up with it. Maybe you have parents in your church who’ve done a great job raising their children and are well respected. Interview them on these topics and use that instead of the video that is provided. There are lots of possibilities for how to use this element, but the point is to use it! No one loves your students more than their parents do. Parenting is a tough job, and we need to support, train, and pray for our parents as often as we can.
JD lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with his wife, Megan, and their two children with a third on the way. JD has been working in full-time youth ministry for seven years. He has served as Youth Minister for Central Church of Christ in Spartanburg for the past five years and part-time as Campus Minister at Southeastern Children’s Home in Duncan, South Carolina, for the past four. JD graduated from Lipscomb University, in Nashville, TN with a degree in youth ministry and a minor in business management. He is from Westerville, Ohio.