“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” These words of advice were spoken to me early in my youth ministry career by a wise supervisor who had been observing my leadership for several months. I was young, and had been hired to lead the youth ministry at my home church. Having grown up there, I was pretty confident that I had all of the answers. So I started to make changes. Alone.
Kara: Steve, we really want to hear from you about the Sticky Faith journey at Mars Hill, and what it’s meant for you and your team. You’ve been around our research for the past few years. What have been some of the major discoveries in the midst of your Sticky Faith journey? Steve: There’s something most of us connected with youth ministry know—that youth ministry has come of age and is having to own both the successes and challenges we’ve created over the last twenty-five to fifty years.
“Mentor.” That word likely stirs up all kinds of images for you. Depending on your experiences, some of those images are incredible while others evoke disappointment or painful memories.
One-sided conversations. That’s how many parents describe their interactions with their teenage children. Gone are the days of easy, playful talks. They’ve been replaced with stressful experiences of “walking on eggshells” around adolescents in the home.
Recently released from jail and suffering from mental illness, 19 year-old Lawrence is struggling to recreate his life. As a teenager Lawrence was abused and disowned by his family, and now he feels like he has been disowned by much of society. How does a young person like Lawrence move from a seemingly hopeless situation into a new hopeful reality? The answer can be found in something researchers and psychologists call “resilience.”
As parents, we have all kinds of reasons to talk to our kids. Often we resort to talking at our kids. But how often do we really talk with our kids? When we do pursue conversations with our teenagers, what is our motivation? To listen? To learn? To understand? Or are we hoping to win an argument?
Parents can feel frustrated and hurt, especially when teenagers treat parents like they are people to be endured rather than embraced. These kinds of exchanges can be not only unsatisfying but also damaging to our relationships. As my daughter Yumi and I have reflected on how parents and adolescents both contribute to breakdowns in communication, it reminded us of tennis.