What I Wish I Had Known
By Ken McCoy • JumpStart Ministries • Charlotte, North Carolina
This is the “Letter From The Editor” of the soon-to-be-released Youth Leaders Only 120. This issue is loaded with insightful articles on the subject of PARENTS/FAMILY: WORKING IN YOUTH MINISTRY’S REAL WORLD. Join YLO today, and get access to all the articles, plus the music-based resources!
I’ve been doing this youth ministry thing for a long time. Long enough to have teenaged friends whose parents were in elementary school when I first got involved in youth work. I was only 21 years old when I first became a youth pastor. Twenty-one.
No wonder I was intimidated by parents back then!
I sided with my students on kid-versus-parent issues. I tended to view parents through very young and immature eyes. I saw parents as hopelessly out of touch, unbending, irrational, and above all – OLD. They were scary because they could make my life miserable. Their phone calls were intimidating. Having to meet with parents was something I avoided at all costs. I had an adversarial attitude back then.
Then a strange thing happened: my own children became teenagers. And I was still a youth minister. By this time, I was doing what I do now – helping churches get their youth ministries up and running – so I wasn’t THE youth pastor at my home church.
I discovered how valuable youth leaders are to a parent. I found that I was praying every day for the youth leaders who were befriending my children. I was looking for ways to help, for concrete actions I could do to benefit the youth leaders. I wanted to be involved in the youth ministry – and with my kids’ permission, I was – but I knew I couldn’t be the youth leader for my kids that I had been for so many others.
I wish I would have known how parents viewed me back when I was a rookie. I could have had a ton of more assistance, support, and camaraderie than what I allowed. I could have seen more results in the lives of those students and their families. I could have saved myself much headache, worry, and work. I wish I would have known then that youth ministry can’t exist separated from ministry with the entire family system.
So maybe this issue of Youth Leaders Only will help YOU to learn what I wish I would have known. Here you’ll find a bunch of insightful articles written by other youth ministers who’ve been there and done that. You’ll discover a bunch of other helpful resources too: Bible studies written around a song from each album in this YLO; re:Tuned discussion starters that use secular songs as a hook; chord charts for your worship band; a Thematic Listing of all the songs on all the YLO albums, and more.