I Don’t Want to Go…
TREY WIMBERLY, MALBIS YOUTH DIRECTOR
From the time we are little toddlers, there is a word that becomes engrained into our DNA: “No.” My wife and I are foster parents to twin boys who are approaching the ripe age of 2 years old, and this is the word that is most used in our household. We do the dance of mom and dad asking numerous questions only to have the repetitive response of “no” ring through our household. After being a part of youth ministry in some form since 2009, I understand that this response does not change, but it evolves. Your students have learned to vocalize and rationalize all of their decisions, especially when they do not want to do something. We want to help you navigate these particular situations when a student does not want to attend camp, a Group meeting, or other type of church function.
My student doesn’t want to go…
It is important to understand the significance of church involvement before we dive into this a little more. Understanding how important it is for your student to be a part of Group or a weekend service will give you motivation to push a little harder when you may have otherwise given up. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us this, “and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” This scripture encourages the meeting of like-minded Christians to motivate one another toward loving each other and doing good works. It even goes on to say that we should avoid the habit of missing these gatherings, and to encourage each other. Here is what your student will get at a Group meeting or weekend experience: a push toward The Gospel. Your student will be challenged to love others and do good works. It crucial for your student to be a part of peers who are going to push each other toward righteous living, because without those people, your student is alone on an island at their school trying to stand against all sorts of temptations.
Another thing to understand is the principle of reaping and sowing. What you sow into your child’s life, you will reap. Your child’s desire to go to church does not start with them attending and loving church, it starts with you pouring into them. Taking time to pray over them, have intentional meal times with them, asking them about questions about Jesus, and teaching them Bible stories. These are all INCREDIBLE tools for reaping a student that loves Jesus Christ and loves being a part of the body of Christ. Galatians 6:8 says this, “for the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” A solid relationship with Christ begins with a solid relationship with you.
So what do we do when our students don’t want to attend?
Explain the options. Each of our campuses has a Group on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 pm. Just because your student did not mesh well with one Group does not mean that Groups are not for them. You can talk to your Youth Director or your student’s Group Leader. It is very simple to get them involved in a different Group. The ultimate goal is for your student to find fulfillment in being a part of the body of Christ.
Push them to Group. No parent likes making their kid do something they don’t want to do. It’s work! It can be hard! But we, as parents, make choices for our kids based on what is good for them, not necessarily because they love that choice right off the bat. Whether it is a doctor’s visit, dentist visit, going to school, or eating your greens, there are some things your student does not want to do that they have to do. You just have to ask yourself, “Where are we prioritizing the development of their faith?” If you believe the development of your student’s faith is more important than even doctor visits, it is a no brainer. Sowing seeds of priority into your student’s faith will pay off in the long run. It may be difficult at first, but just like the parable of the sower, some of the seed is going to fall on good ground. Love does hard things. We make difficult choices for the benefit of our kids because we can see further down the road than they can. We have the gift of having already lived through our teenage years and we now know what is really important and what has the deepest impact. We can see that there is more to the value of faith and belonging to the body of believers than a child can. We make choices, as parents, based on what God says is right and we don’t get swayed by temporary teenage emotions any more than we would be swayed by a 3 year old having a fit.
Hopefully this has helped you navigate this situation. We would love to talk with you further if you have anymore questions or even a response. We’ll be back next week.