In our student ministry we are beginning a series called “Home” from now until Christmas. The series is all about the prodigal son parable and where we fit in the story and where God is when we go off the ranch. With this I thought that I would shape the next couple of Faith Lab posts to reflect the different characters in the story.
Our character today is the younger son with the mentality that he is leaving.
There are times in the lives of our ministry where we will see our students making decisions that we know will come back to bite them in the rear. These could be decisions about partying or not, who to date, what they believe about the trinity, how many stuffed animals in the bed constitutes a suffocation hazard…whatever and we long to help the situation before it happens. What we learn from the father figure in the parable is that there are times where we have to let to poor decisions be made by our students, but we can always do something.
Pray: we are always able to prays for our kids, weather they like it or not. They don’t even have to know we are doing to. Be through prayer we can intervene on their behalf.
Help them fail forward: when they make the poor decisions, I told you so is not always the most compassionate responses. Yet we can unpack the situation and experience with them. Lets use the mistakes as teachable moments and give God thanks that they didn’t make the decision while at college where there is offer much less accountability and time for reflection. Failing forward enables our students to make mistakes and learn from them before they become a pattern of life.
Hang in there: When students fall away from our ministry or make poor choices we want to continue to remind them that we have a place that they can call home. continue to invite, encourage and love on the students that are hard to love at times. Student ministry is a lot of ground breaking, soil preparing and seed planting, so don’t lose hope if you don’t see things sprout.