Since parents and teens have trouble understanding each other, we thought of this: We’re going to have a parent/teen forum. We’ll take 4 kids and 4 parents (all unrelated). Then we’ll pose them Q’s for them to answer and discuss. Q’s like: “Why don’t teens and parents talk to each other?” They’ll discuss it, and both parents and teens will begin to understand each other better. We plan on holding a forum with different sets of people every Sunday night for a month. Then we might have them meet together in small groups to discuss things some more.
Ed. Note: Depending on the questions and their seriousness, maybe try doing something like a TV talkshow atmosphere to keep everyone listening and involved… but please… no Jerry. 🙂
In the beginning of the school year in September we had our second parent/teen night of the year. Here are some things that we did that made it special and enabled us to connect more deeply with the parents and teens. 1) Special homemade invitations were sent to every family in the church that had a teen who comes or could come to the youth nights. 2) We involved the Senior Pastor for the night during the challenge/talk time (I spoke to the teens, he spoke to the parents). 3) A theme was attached to the whole night, e.g. “The Treasure Chest.” 4) Have a mixed praise and worship time (youth songs and adult church songs). 5) Have a crowdbreaker that involves the parents and teens working together. 6) Have freebies to giveaway that a family or a teen could use (cd’s, gift cert to a fancy restaurant, etc.) 7) Include in your fellowship time a warmly decorated area in the church where you can serve up snacks and drinks. 8) Call up places like Starbucks Coffee to donate their services (They do it!) This is all worth it in our effort as youth pastors and leaders to minister to the families we come in contact with every week.
Have youth plan a Valentine’s Day Dine Out for their parents. Incorporate some of these ideas into the event: 1.) Decorate with red and white streamers and balloons. For placemat, cut 3 inch red construction paper hearts and glue them to the corners of white construction paper. 2.) Have kids cook and serve the meal. Pick an easy menu, such as spaghetti. It’s not only easy to prepare, it’s RED! 3.) Have group members prepare skits, songs, poems, or raps that affirm parents. 4.) Have kids each offer a goofy door prize for their parents, such as a hammer to dad who fixes things well, or Tinkertoys to a mom who likes to play. 5.) Ask group members to each write a “Top 10” things they appreciate about their parents. Have them give their parents the list.
At the end of the school year we have an annual banquet for the youth group. All the food is cooked and served by the teenagers to the parents. We then have a presentation of awards. Some awards are serious for bowling, putt-putt tournaments, etc. Other awards are goofy in nature; for example we have given out a gold album (record painted gold) to someone who is always singing. We also have a computer presentation of pictures from the past years youth events, with comedic commentary of course!
Think of the slang or faddish words your group members use. How many of those words do you know the meaning of? Open the lines of communication by compiling a Youth Dictionary with your group members. Have group members write their slang words. Then form the list to look like a dictionary by putting the words in alphabetical order and showing how to pronounce each one. Tell what part of speech each word is such as a noun, or an adjective, and have young people give their definition. The group will fill several pages in no time. Have volunteers type the Youth Dictionary, photocopy it and arrange it in booklet form. Distribute copies to parents and other church members. Adults may not change their vocabulary, but they’ll understand kids’ language better. Update the dictionary as needed. Use it as a discussion starter on understanding others.
Play a game similar to the “Newlywed Game” Only have the parents and the teenagers play. Do a round with both parents against the teen or the dad or mom individually against the teen. (Hint: it is harder with the dads). Have a show host, make a small set with some kind of theme music, and have brief intros about the other person (perhaps have youth profile written by parents and vice-versa).
Full of study aids like the following: The Bible Says study guide that addresses controversial issues, scientific facts, and intellectual questions. Direct Line offers application for specific verses. Dear Sam is an advice column that answers questions most often asked by teens. Quizzers ask and answer interesting Bible trivia. Jericho Joe is a cartoon character offering a lighthearted touch in unexpected places. Great for the teen Christian interested in really learning on a deeper level.
In November, invite parents to play flag football against the youth group. After the game is over, parents provide chili, crackers, cheese and drinks for a time to warm up and fellowship. This is a great outreach to invite all your unsaved parents and teens to.
We have done this for the last six years straight and it is always a great time. Dress warm!
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
Based on the popular sexual abstinence campaign True Love Waits. Includes the Fingertip Counselor — an aphlabetical index of topics, Salt & Pepper Pages — colorful pages offering assistance in relationships, Virtual Reality — unforgettable stories, Straight Talk from Dr. Jay — answers to serious questions, Info Surfer — an icon-based computer-type search index, five simple reading plans, Cloud of Witnesses Page — a page to record the signatures of other Christians that stand with you in your walk with Jesus, and a True Love Waits Commitment Card — allowing the student to record his/her decision to remain sexual pure until a biblical marriage.
Version: New Century Version
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
A Bible that looks like a magazine!
In focus groups, online polling, and one-on-one discussion, Transit has found that the number one reason teens don’t read the Bible is that it is “too big and freaky looking.” This fashion-magazine format for the New Testament is the perfect solution to that problem. Teen girls feel comfortable exploring the Scriptures and over 500 further-study notes because of the relevant format!
* Blabs (Q & A)
* 12 month-long calendars
* Love Notes from God
* Issue articles
* Basics of Christianity Articles
* Beauty Secrets
* Guys Speak Out!
* Relationship articles
* Truth or Dares
* Devotional Reading Plans
* and more . . .