What percentage of your families in your youth ministry are divorced families?
Our youth ministries need to be more prepared and equipped to handle broken and divorced families. More importantly, we (as the youth pastor) shouldn’t view these divorced families as the “special families.” Unfortunately, it is becoming more common to have Christians who are divorcing.
I forgot what religion has the highest divorce rate?
Bottom line: youth pastors need to theologically and practically learn how to deal with “church” families that are divorced and have re-married.
My parents are divorced and when they divorced the “church families” that my family was close to, didn’t know how to respond to my “divorced family”. It was like we were now aliens and my family committed the unforgivable sin.
I always love watching youth pastors who were home schooled, really well churched, and come from a very traditional background, scrabble and sweat when real life issues come their way, namely divorce.
The most successful 21st century youth ministries will be the youth ministries that directly deal with divorced families. 21st century youth ministries will not be this holy huddle of only the “good” church kids, rather it will be the exact opposite.
As youth pastors we don’t avoid the divorced families rather we embrace and learn how to best minister to them. I think it is really damaging when youth ministries claim to be a “family based youth ministry” because this basically means: Our youth ministry will be only for the “good church families”.
Let me be clear: A marriage is an oath to the Lord, so therefore spouses need to remain faithful to one another. Our church and youth ministry needs to affirm marriage and we need to have great compassion and understanding towards divorce people. God hates divorce (Malachi 2.16). Divorce was common in Mosaic law. God provides for divorce (Jeremiah 3.8). Even Joseph (step father of Jesus) was going to divorce Mary quietly (Matt 1.19). Jesus also hates divorce (Matt 19.3) and He provides a reason to leave as well (Matt 5.30).
In my context, it appears to me that knowing how to deal with divorced families (disregarding how messy they are) will be the 21st century youth ministries greatest strength. A divorced family needs so much restoration and healing.
Seek after the students who are from divorced families. Know how to give these students God hope while giving them a place to vent their frustrations about their parents. I guarantee there are some deep wounds that need to be prayed over.
All I am saying is: let us not isolated the divorced families in our youth ministry because you don’t know how to handle the many difficulties and complexities these families bring. Accept them for who they are and who knows you may learn a few things. If you are a youth pastor who comes from a really good family that went to church growing up and you have not experienced the deep wounds of divorce….first be thankful and second don’t be afraid to go after the students who come from more of a non-traditional up bringing.