1. Pray- This is the biggest and best thing we can do. We need to be on our faces crying out for our own family as well as the families of our students. Because prayer is powerful and God hears and answers the prayers of the faithful. And since there is a war going on against our families we need to make sure we are out on the front lines battling everyday. Some of this battle we be on your own, in your office, as you are a secret warrior for your students. But I also encourage you to let your students know that you are praying for their families. Not only will this be an encouragement to them but it will also show them the importance of family. Plus, they will be more willing to come to you with their hurts and struggles so that you can not only pray on your own but also pray in community with your students.
2. Be sensitive to unique situations.- This is not about tip toeing around sensitive situations but mainly just being aware that not all situations are the same. Some students come from a two parent home. Some live with an aunt or a grand parent. Some students are in foster care. Many of our students live in single parent homes and it is not always for the same reason. It is important that we are aware of these situations not only so we do not put our foot in our mouths but also so that we can better understand our students and know how to minister to them.
3. Be an example.- I have mentioned to this before but you need to be an example for what healthy family can be. Notice I did not say perfect because we do not want to be fake, but instead we need to be models of healthy relationships in our homes. Let students be a part of your life to an extent so they can see how you fellowship together, have meals together, and argue together. And if you are single, just be an example of how you are remaining pure as you wait for a family or how God calls some of us to be single. These real life examples might go much further than any lessons you ever teach.
4. Support Parents.- Some parents desperately want to minister to their teens strengthen their families but just do not know how. You need to give them support not only in prayer but also with encouragement, a listening ear, and resources. This way they know that they are not in this alone but that also things work out much better if they are the one primarily ministering to their child.
5. Send students out on mission.- Let's be honest. Many of our students come from jacked up situations and their parents not only do not have a clue or love God, but also do not want there students to love God either. It is in these situations where our students have an opportunity to grow up and be the leader in their home. We need to prepare them for and support them in this role not only for their own well being but also for the future of the family they might have later on. Imagine the impact for generations is a student brought their parents to Christ or brought healing to their parents marriage. It would be a ripple effect heard around the community and for generations. Now I do believe there is a balance in this because our students need to be allowed to mourn and hurt and they need to know it is not their fault if things do not work out. But I do believe we need to raise the bar for our students of what God might be calling them to in their homes so that they see the opportunities for life change before them.
If nothing else, I at least hope today you are beginning to realize that not only is having as healthy of families important, but that also it is possible. And being in youth ministry means we play an important part in this role for our students and parents. So begin to pray for families today and pray God would give you vision for what He would have you to do in order to impact the families in your ministry. Then being to make that implementing that vision a top priority.