Widen the Circle

Pursue strategic relationships for your son or daughter.

In a culture where community is not automatic and there are limited role models, parents should become intentional about finding spiritual leaders and mentors for their teens. Every son and daughter needs other adults in their lives who will say things that reflect what a parent would say. One of the smartest things moms and dads can do is to participate regularly at church where they can find the right kind of adult influences for their teens.

Here is a piece of research that might interest some of you as parents:
Teens who had at least one adult from church make a significant time investment in their lives …were more likely to keep attending church. More of those who stayed in church—by a margin of 46 percent to 28 percent—said five or more adults at church had invested time with them personally and spiritually.

I have observed a lot of teenagers. From the time they hit middle school, they start pulling away from home. They are not doing anything wrong; in fact, it’s a good thing – it’s the way they are made. They are becoming independent, and they begin redefining themselves through the eyes of other people who are not in their immediate family. The older they get, the more important it is for them to have other voices in their lives saying the same things but in a different way. They need to have other voices speaking into their worlds.

Here are two ways you can help broaden the positive relationships in your teen’s life:

Small Groups. In our student ministry at Bethany, from grades 7-12, students are placed in small groups. These small groups provide a consistent group of peers who know each other and are moving in a good direction together. They receive care and direction from godly adult leaders who often become an important voice in their lives. As these students and leaders spend time together they often become like a “second family”.

Serving Opportunities. At Bethany, we believe strongly that teens can make a difference in the lives of others so we encourage them to use their gifts and passions to serve others. And because we believe this we make lots of opportunities available here for them to serve. As they are paired with like-hearted adults in these serving spaces they begin to form strong relationships and positive influence happens.

Do you think it’s important to widen the circle? Why?

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