Monday, February 8, 2010

Working with Broken Families

Just about every youth group on the planet will have at least one blended family or family of divorce. This group is becoming larger and larger every year as divorce and remarriage become more common and accepted. I personally didn’t realize just how hard it can be to work with these families until we moved to our current church. I would estimate that 90% of our youth come from these types of families! It’s shocking!

In these families there are whole new dynamics, new problems, and new pitfalls to avoid. Often the roles of parents are confused and students are given too much freedom too soon. Or the other side of that coin is that they may have no freedom and receive no attention that they so desperately crave. So what do I do about it? I’m just the youth minister’s wife. What’s my role in all of this?

5 Guidelines I use when Working with Blended & Broken Families
1. Do your best to figure out the family structure. Who belongs to whom? Who are half-siblings? Step siblings, etc.? Who do the students live with?
2. Don’t take sides between the parents (if at all possible), but act in the students’ best interest.
3. Always listen but don’t take for granted that you are hearing the absolute truth. Everyone has their own take on the situation.
4. Show lots of care and attention but proceed with caution as their family situations are often volatile.
5. Love on them and be Jesus to them no matter how they might treat you. You may be the only witness in their lives.

Colossians 3:12 &13 “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

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