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Finding a Job in Ministry

Finding a Job in Ministry

Three questions you should have answers for

There’s a good chance that, if you’re seeking out a career in ministry (or a career in most any field, for that matter), that one day you’ll find yourself without a job – and, when that happens, I want you to find this post and read it again.  In fact, there’s a chance that you’re reading this post because you’re out of a job and a friend shared the link with you – if that’s the case, take notes… your friend is trying to help you out.

I’ve never known so many friends in ministry without a job.  Off the top of my head, I can think of 6 people who I would consider friends – 3 of whom are close enough family friends that they’ve shared a meal at my home – who are actively looking to be hired on a church staff.  Now, out of that list, I think that some of them are doing everything they can to stay active in the pursuit of finding their next call in ministry.  There are others, and I’m afraid that they’re in the majority when it comes to the masses, who aren’t helping themselves out with the choices they’re making while looking for their next ministry position.

So, today, I want to ask three questions to those who are looking for a new job and what answers I’d be looking for if I were trying to hire you.

  • Why did you leave your last ministry position?
  • Where are you currently going to church and where in the Church are you serving?
  • When was the last time you did what you want me to pay you to do?

This is only meant to help – I promise.

Why did you leave your last ministry position?

For those of us who’ve worked at multiple churches, we know the heartache that can happen during transitions.  Rarely, if ever, do people leave ministry roles in a way that would allow them to return again as a staff member or as a member of the congregation.  In fact, one of the few people I can think of off the top of my head who has navigated that transition well is the former student minister at my current church.  She is now on staff at a local seminary and worships on Sundays at our church – where she was once on staff for somewhere around 5 years.  She’s a rare exception because of how great of a person she is.  Most of us didn’t transition as well – and that’s an okay thing to admit.

With that said, the way you answer this question will speak volumes about your character.  If, in the first 2 sentences of your answer, you throw your former senior pastor under the bus – I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t hire you. At times, you’ll disagree with your future senior leadership team and they need to know that you’ll have their back at the end of the day.  Honesty is important when answering this question, but you want to make sure that you speak well of your former church.  There are often a lot of hurt feelings when it comes to ministry transition.  It’s okay to talk about them – just don’t go there in the first two sentences of your answer.

Where are you currently going to church and where are you serving?

I might be the only surprised one in the room on this one (and that’s okay), but I’m shocked at how many people looking for a paid position in ministry aren’t currently a part of a church body.  And, when I say a part of, I mean in attendance and service within the church.

It. Blows. My. Mind.

I’m not sure why I’d hire someone to work on a church staff who thinks it’s okay to not belong to a local church body.  The best excuse I had heard, up until about a year ago, was that someone looking to go on staff at a future church didn’t want to create strong bonds at a church that wouldn’t be their final stop along the way.  However, during the last year, I had someone contact me during a ministry transition they were going through and they asked if they could serve at and attend our church in the meantime.  This person, and their spouse, have been worshipping with us for months and are becoming actively involved in the life of the church.  Will it make their transition away from us harder?  Sure.  Does it speak volumes to their conviction that belonging to a local church body is a big deal?  Absolutely.  Also, they can always point back to the fact that they told us they wouldn’t be around forever – they’ve been honest from the beginning and I love that about them.

If you can come up with a good reason to not be involved in a local church while searching for a new ministry position, that’s what the comment section is for. Go for it.  Maybe you’ll say something I haven’t heard before – it’s totally possible.

When was the last time you did what you want me to pay you to do?

So, you want to be a youth pastor?  When was the last time you taught at a youth group?  Or… you want to work in children’s ministry?  Are you currently working with Elementary-aged kids or Preschoolers?  These are important questions to have answers for because a good church will ask you and you should be ready to talk about it.

We’re currently in a job market where there are far more qualified people looking for ministry positions than churches looking to hire.  There are better resumes out there than yours.  The way you answer this question may be what makes you stand out in an interview process.  Also – are you willing to not do what you feel called to do for months, maybe even a year, just because nobody is willing to pay you for it?  I want you to consider what that looks like to a future employer.  There are days when ministry is exhausting – if the only thing keeping you going is the promise of a paycheck, something is broken.  Learning to serve in the areas you are gifted in, without pay, will make you better at what you do.

Why should you share this post?

I know, this isn’t one of the three interview questions.  I totally get that.  However, there’s a good chance that you know someone who is trying to get hired at a church and they’ve never thought of how they’d answer these questions.  I don’t want you to have to be the bad guy who asks the hard questions – let me do that.  You can be there to ask them what they thought of the questions and ask how they might answer them.  But, the only way you get to be the good guy is if you share this post and then talk in your circles about what your gut reactions are.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Kidmin, Thoughts

 

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Kids’ Worship: Where We’re Going

I throw my hands up in the air sometimes
Saying AYO
Gotta let go
I wanna celebrate and live my life
Saying AYO
Baby, let’s go

‘Cause we gon’ rock this club
We gon’ go all night
We gon’ light it up
Like it’s dynamite
Cause I told you once
Now I told you twice
We gon’ light it up
Like it’s dynamite

Here’s a quick relevancy test: are those lyrics familiar to you?  Chances are, they’re familiar to the kids in the community you live in.  More on that in just a moment.

Today’s post wraps up a series on Kids’ Worship: Where we’ve been, what our transition looked like, where we are today… and today’s post will cover some dreams I have for the future of kids’ worship in our ministry.

Student Led Worship

Since our transition (from something to nothing and back to something), I’ve been the primary worship leader for our kids on Sunday mornings.  On the occasion that I’m out of town or sick, our church’s worship director has taken time out of his busy Sunday to come over and lead worship for our kids.

One of my hopes for the coming year is that I shift away from being the worship leader in our Elementary environment and that we get to a place where the youth in our church are leading our kids in worship.  We’re in the midst of raising up multiple teams who can do this well – I hope to see this transition happen before the end of this school year.  Two thoughts behind this move:
1) Kids love seeing high school students in leadership roles.  If guys on our high school football team can rock out for Jesus on a Sunday morning, it gives our kids the freedom to join in – their coolness factor isn’t on the line (because, let’s be honest, singing along to a lady or old guy with a CD player can be a sure way to embarrass a kids in front of their visiting friend).
2) When students take leadership roles in your church’s ministries, they grow in their faith and in their commitment to the Church.  I truly believe that high school students learn more about their faith by serving than they do by spending a Sunday morning in Bible studies.  Call me crazy.

Kid Owned Experiences

For our church, Sunday is the road IN to our community and the Faith.  Sunday mornings at Glenkirk are meant to provide space for people, young and old, to ASK “who is Jesus?” in their lives.  With that in mind, we always want to think about our first time visitors when programming our kids’ worship time on a Sunday… because we know we’ll have them.  We also recognize that our kids need a place where they feel welcomed if they’re going to welcome others.

That’s what led to our great idea that then lead to the card you see at the top of our post.  We started thinking – “how cool would it be if kids had significant input on the Sunday morning experience?”  If kids knew that they had influence over the way a Sunday morning looked, maybe they’d be more likely to attend regularly, invite friends, and get involved during the time they spend with us.

Good ideas often lead to new experiments, which (more often than not) lead to failures.  The cool thing is – failures can allow us to learn how to succeed in the future… if we try to learn from them.

Our idea was this: What if, as a first step into giving kids ownership over a Sunday morning, we allowed kids the ability to choose what songs we sing during our worship time?  So, we developed a card that kids could fill out for song requests.  In fact, we might even use their song suggestions in our worship service at 11:11am (kids begin that service with their parents in church for community worship before being dismissed to programming).  As soon as I announced the new change, one 1st grade girl ran to the stage to pick one up… I had hardly finished my sentence and she had taken the card to the back of the room to begin writing furiously with a purple crayon.

I was excited when she brought it back to me at the end of the morning… and I knew that I had to share it with you.  It was too classic to let it slide (at the same time, I realized that I had to provide SOME context to the post – hence the series on Kids’ Worship).

I clearly didn’t set the parameters well – our great idea wasn’t defined well enough for the kids to understand what we were going for.  Instead, multiple cards were turned in with song requests for our worship team to perform cover songs.  The cards are helping me shape some of the music we play through our sound system during pre-service activities (creating a welcoming environment includes being intentional about the music playing in the room when children arrive)… but, that’s about it.

So, we’ll go back to the drawing board on that one and try to figure out other ways to get our kids actively involved in owning their Sunday morning experience.  If you have ideas or suggestions you’ve seen work in your context, feel free to post them below in the comments section.

That wraps up my initial thoughts on this series.  Shaping our Sunday mornings is still in process and I love getting input from parents and other kidmin leaders across the country (though, you get bonus points if you live on the West Coast).

You can connect with me via facebook (facebook.com/anthonyprince), twitter (twitter.com/anthony_prince) or through the comments section below.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2010 in Kidmin

 

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Kids’ Worship: Where We Are

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You’re going to laugh when you see what inspired this series of posts.

But, that’s something I’ll share on Monday.

Today, I want to give you a glimpse into where we’re at with kids’ worship at our church and the impact our shift has made on our camp experience as well as the massive VBS that we run in the summer.

Sunday Mornings: Keeping it Simple

One of the best things about killing off music on Sunday mornings was that it allowed us to rebuild intentionally.  We were able to make singing fun again and slowly begin to shape what worship looked like for our kids because of that.  On a typical Sunday, the music time our kids experience doesn’t look incredibly different from the back of the room than most kids’ program out there.  But, the view I get from up front every weekend is amazing – our kids actually worship Jesus through singing.  It rocks.

A typical Sunday looks like this:

I do a typical welcome from the front of the room, introduce myself and give any quick announcements we might have.  This allows kids to transition from coming into the room to finding a seat and looking forward.  It also gives our small group leaders time to find a seat in the midst of the kids.

We then launch into singing with two fast/fun songs.  One of those songs always has a teaching element to it – whether that’s because it’s a Bible verse set to song, has a theme that ties into the morning, or anything else I can leverage to make that song mean something to the kids.  The other fast song is simply joyful.  We reinforce two ideas with this set up – a) the words to songs matter and b) singing songs at church can be FUN and even feel like a mini rock concert.

We always wrap up our time of worship with a song that our kids might hear if they went to church w/ their parents or if their family listens to CCM around the house.  As an introduction, I always talk about thinking through the words to the song and I’ll teach through any tough words that might be in the lyircs (God of Wonders, for example, is a favorite for our kids… but the word “Tabernacle” means nothing to a second grade girl.  So, I talk through the words we’re about to sing before we sing them).  I’ll tell you something – it took a year of teaching kids that singing songs at church can be fun and that the words to the songs we sing matter before I even started adding a third song to our rotation.

Nothing I just wrote should be revolutionary by any means.  However, being intentional about the songs we sing and the way we made our transition has changed the way our kids worship in song.  Our kids are just as likely to sing along to Fee’s “Glory to God, Forever” when it plays on our Sunday morning mix as they will to “Fireflies” by Owl City (that’s right, Owl City is on our Sunday morning mix… I’d hope you’re not offended by that).  What’s even cooler is the impact this shift has had on worship in other settings.

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Leading the pack at VBS

Our VBS is abnormally large.  The picture about is a picture of about 1/5 of the room we host our worship time in.  But, that’s not the point of this aside.  Rather, the atmosphere of worship at VBS has changed dramatically since we overhauled our Sunday morning worship.  VBS at our church was once a place where kids just sang along to songs.  If a kid was engaged in the music, they probably were from a different church in town.  In fact, kids visiting church for the first time at VBS would have assumed that our kids were visitors too – they took no ownership over that time and really only enjoyed the fact that they could be loud in the church’s sanctuary without getting in trouble.

We live in a different reality now.  Half the songs we sing at VBS are songs you’d hear if you visited our church’s modern worship service on a Sunday morning – and our kids LOVE the time they get to spend in worship.  We run one of the most visitor-friendly VBS programs I know of (over half of the 1200 kids and students in attendance this last year have no church home on Sunday mornings), and yet our kids create such a cool environment by singing their hearts out during the song portion of the morning that their friends join right in.

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Living it out “up the mountain”

Twice a year, our kids make the trip up the mountain to camp at Forest Home (www.foresthome.org).  I circle back to talking about camp because this is the place where I first got the sense that our kids didn’t understand worshiping God in song.  And, by “got the sense”, I mean to say that our kids napped and cracked jokes during worship the first time I took our kids there 4 years ago.

As you can see in the picture above, our kids aren’t those kids anymore.  Instead, we’re the obnoxious church that jumps up on stage to lead everyone in crazy camp songs.  Our leaders (each cabin has an adult leader, assisted by a high energy high school or college age assistant) struggle to sing louder than our campers.  One of the things I love about Forest Home is that I get a set list of songs they’ll be singing at camp that I can teach our kids before we head up – our kids already have the songs in their heads by the time we get up there so that everything that happens is an expression of their hearts.  For us, what happens at camp is an amplified version of what happens on Sunday mornings – I’m thrilled to say that it’s amplified enthusiasm rather than what was once amplified boredom.

Where we’re heading

I’m excited to say that I’m happy with where we’re at these days in the arena of kids’ worship.  However, I still know we have areas we can grow in.  Monday’s post will talk through my hopes and dreams for the future of kids’ worship at our church.  I’ll actually lead in with a bit of a Fail that recently happened as we continue to try to make our worship experience more interactive and kid-lead.

Here’s a recap of this series so far:

Our Journey” gave some scope to the series:

https://westcoastcm.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/kids-worship-our-journey/

Karaoke Worship” took a look at where our journey started, with kids totally disengaged by the video worship we were providing:

https://westcoastcm.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/kids-worship-the-church-of-karaoke/

Nothing is Better than Something” talked through the at-first-unpopular choice we made to stop singing altogether on Sunday mornings:

https://westcoastcm.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/kids-worship-nothing-is-better-than-something/

Starting Simple” talked about the first steps in our process in re-teaching kids how to worship God through singing… and kind of hinted at how Video Curriculum can hurt your ministry if your team isn’t actually facilitating what’s going on in the room:

https://westcoastcm.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/kids-worship-starting-simple/

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2010 in Kidmin

 

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Kids’ Worship: Starting Simple

Let me set up the videos above. As in, if you watch them first, you’ll be watching them out of context.

For those of you unfamiliar with video curriculum, many ministries in the last decade have moved to leveraging multimedia when it comes to the Sunday school arena.  Video curriculum gives you lots of options – many even come with pre-packaged worship sets that you and your kids can sing along with… no music skills required.  A little over 4 years ago, that was an attractive selling point to our church – a church in a leadership transition with a history of good kids’ programs.  So, imagine you’re a 4th grade boy visiting our church for the first time on a Sunday because your friend invited you.  You walk into the large group space a few minutes late and see a bunch of kids staring at a giant screen in a dark room and the above video is going.

Now… go ahead, watch the videos.

There are churches that have a group of kids’ ministry leaders who can pull off singing along to songs like what you see above.  The team sells it, they teach the songs beforehand to the kids and they pull it off.  We didn’t have that team of leaders.

And so… our kids sat there.  Staring at the screen while my heart was breaking.

If you’ve been following along with this series, you know that a few years ago, the kids in the elementary ministry programs at our church were having a hard time engaging in the time of the morning we would spend singing songs.  So, we killed singing on Sunday mornings in an effort to re-teach our kids about worship.

It wasn’t a popular move, but sometimes deciding to do nothing is better than just doing something out of habit.

Now, fast-forward a bunch of months and you’d find us at a point where I was ready to bring music back to the kids on Sundays… I just had to figure out where to start.

Worship should be joyful

The first thing I felt like we needed to teach the kids at our church was that singing songs at church can be fun.  For many, this isn’t a new concept.  But, for kids who had experienced karaoke worship to songs that they had never heard before, making worship a joyful experience was a priority.  Understanding that there’s a difference between joyful songs and silly songs was an important thing for our team to understand during this transition.

Having only served in ministry on the West Coast, I can’t make an assumption about kids in the rest of the country… but, I can tell you this – if I would have stood in front of our kids and started singing “Father Abraham”, “He’s got the whole world”, or “Kumbaya” on a Sunday morning, my kids would have stormed the stage and punched me in the throat.  We’re talking about 4th and 5th graders who already think that singing at church is lame – if I reinforce the stereotype, we’re doomed.  In the same way, if I simply found a “better” video curriculum to sing along with, our kids might have flashbacks to the experiences I was trying to distance them from.  Again, this isn’t to say that certain songs are bad or that video curriculum is deficient – we just needed to go a different direction.

Doing what isn’t easy

While I was on staff at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, CA, I worked with a guy named Tim Scheidler.  The way I lead large group teaching is a result of working alongside Tim for years.  I remember a Sunday sometime around Thanksgiving that Tim was out of town and it was my job to lead worship for the morning.  I bombed.  It was then and there that I decided that I needed to learn an instrument well enough to lead worship.  However, I didn’t put the time and effort in until years later when I realized that the ministry I was leading needed to make a shift in worship and that I was going to need to lead our team through it.
(If I could go back and coach myself on one thing, this might be the thing that I’d make myself work on… having the ability to play an instrument in your ministry tool belt is pretty invaluable)

So, I learned how to play a guitar.  I wasn’t great overnight – it took a ton of time to figure out what I was doing.  But, I decided to put in the effort to do what was important for the future of our ministry.  Down the road, I fully planned on passing off worship leading to others in our ministry.  But, at the time, I felt like I needed to be able to model for them where we were going.

Starting Simple

So, the Sunday came when I was ready to bring music back.  We were beginning a series on the Fruit of the Spirit (I used the natural transition of a series to introduce something “new”) and I wanted to pick a sort of “theme song” that would carry us through the next 5 weeks.  I also wanted to pick a song that was joyful and that was newish to the majority of our kids (remember, I wanted to distance myself from the idea that music at church was a) only for little kids and/or b) lame).
So, I picked this song… or at least my own version of it that I picked up from my buddy, Tim, while at Lake Ave.

The Fruit of the Spirit song is goofy enough to be fun, interactive (we let the kids “pick” the next fruit we’re going to sing about… and we only do 3 fruits to keep the song shortish), our kids didn’t already know it, it elevated the main teaching during the series, and it’s a song that I could play on my guitar.  I had slides on the big screen that listed out the words and, because I wasn’t singing along to a recording, I could take pauses to teach kids the next part of the song before we just threw it at them.

After that series, I began to work a second song into the morning.  I tried to choose one song that would elevate the morning’s message and another song that would be fun to rock out to (think “Every Move I Make” or my buddy Eric Shouse’s version of “Superhero“.

We did a whole year of just two songs, reinforcing the idea that worship in song can be a joyful experience.  Tomorrow’s post will catch us up to speed with where we’re at today, with Friday’s post wrapping things up with some thoughts on where we’re heading.

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During this blog series, I continue to receive comments, facebook messages, DMs on twitter and emails from others in kids’ ministry who have found themselves in similar situations.  Part of why I wanted to blog this transition is because I think a lot of us have faced this very problem – especially in terms of elementary programs and ministries.

I’m also hearing that the ideas behind our transition are bigger than just kids’ worship on Sunday mornings.  I totally agree!  If your ministry has been through transitions that you’ve written about, feel free to post links in the comments section.  We only learn from each other when we stop lurking in the shadows of blogs and start actually sharing ideas and dreams with each other.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2010 in Kidmin

 

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Kids’ Worship: Nothing is Better than Something

Have you ever had to change something, but didn’t know where to start?

That’s where I found myself a few years ago when the kids at the church I began working at didn’t know how to worship God in song.  They knew how to sing along to stuff they liked… but watching them try to sing along to songs at church was kind of like bad karaoke.

So… my solution: don’t sing.  Seriously, for a few months, we just stopped singing on Sundays.  That might sound a little harsh, so let me explain the 3 core values that led me to that decision.

Value # 1: Relationships matter more than programs

I didn’t inherit a program without volunteers already in place, so I knew that any changes I brought about could result in massive amounts of hurt feelings if those decisions seemed like personal attacks.  With that in mind, I knew that any large changes might hurt future relationships with my volunteer team.  In fact, just writing out this process is taking me hours longer than I initially thought it would because I don’t think that the team that was in place was doing anything wrong.  They were doing the best job they knew how to do… and I didn’t want to be the young guy who came in with guns blazing, hitting their hearts in the crossfire.  With that value guiding my process, I knew that I’d have to make this transition carefully and that there’d have to be a few extra steps involved.

Value # 2: Singing is not the same as Worship

Worship in song is one way that we express our hearts to God… but it’s not the only way we worship God.  So, when we decided to get rid of singing on Sunday mornings for a season, we made sure to talk with our kids about other ways that we worship Jesus – through prayer, through service, through caring for others.  By doing this, we were able to distance our kids from thinking that singing at church meant pseudo-singing along to dvd’s and we used the transition as a teaching moment.  Our team wasn’t taking away our kids’ ability to worship… we were actually teaching them about worship in the midst of the transition.

Value # 3: Nothing is better than something

This isn’t a rule, it’s a value of mine.  Values influence decisions, but they don’t force them.  There are plenty of times when other values overrule this one – for example, running youth programs for the last few months has taught me a thing or two about learning as I go along.  There are times when you start something before it’s where you want it to be and you shape it as you go along.  However, in this case, I decided that not singing on Sundays was better than teaching the kids that going through the motions is okay.  When navigating transitions in a new place, I always try to use baby steps.  Our first baby step was getting rid of singing on Sundays.  Our next baby step was making singing fun again… but, that’s a post for tomorrow.

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During this blog series, I’ve already received comments, facebook messages, DMs on twitter and emails from others in kids’ ministry who have found themselves in similar situations.  Part of why I wanted to blog this transition is because I think a lot of us have faced this very problem – especially in terms of elementary programs and ministries.

If you are currently in a spot where the kids in your ministry don’t know how to worship in song, please know that you’re not alone.  There is a kidmin community that exists to support you and speak into your world – don’t be afraid to send a message to me or others in our field to ask for advice.  Though your situation has unique aspects to it, it’s always good to bounce ideas off of friends who’ve been down similar paths – at the end of the day, we need to be about building the Kingdom not just our own little castles.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2010 in Kidmin

 

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Reggie Joiner: Parents in Transition

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The following is a guest post submitted by Reggie Joiner.  I’m humbled and honored to post his words below.

Parents in Transition

Time flies fast from elementary to college age, so get ready to change your parenting habits. Every child seems to move in warp speed toward the teenage years.

I was caught by surprise when a new declaration of personal independence was automatically assumed the day my son got his driver’s license. It was as though I represented an oppressive and extremely unfair regime whenever I tried to enforce any rule. (Whenever I said no to one of my teenage daughters, she would go to her bedroom, close the door and play Britney Spears’ “Overprotected” over and over again for over an hour, loud enough for me and the whole house to hear.) I have to admit, it was difficult for me to transition from parenting children to parenting teenagers. I had worked with teenagers all of my life, but I had never actually had any living in my home. I am still a recovering parent of teens, but here are a few things I have recognized about this chapter of parenting:

It’s a complicated time.

While your children are transitioning from being dependent to independent, you are transitioning as a parent from having authority to leveraging your influence. You can’t parent them the same way you did when they were in elementary school.

It’s an urgent time.

Face it. You know a window is closing fast. Ready or not, in a few short years your children will be leaving home. You are running out of time, and it is easy to feel a little panicked. Everything seems to matter more (grades, decisions, relationships.) And to make matters worse, everything costs more too. Have I mentioned the price of college these days? Feeling better?

Keep fighting for your teenager’s emotional health by investing in relational time with them. Especially during this uncertain season, they need a positive relationship with you more than you or they may realize. Here are a few things to remember that might help you make the time you spend with your teenager more meaningful:

• Find a common activity you can both enjoy.

Go to favorite restaurant, movie, or concert. Discover a hobby or a type of recreation you can do together. Find common interests. It only takes a few.

• Make sure there is no agenda.

They will see right through a masked motive and interpret your effort to hang out as manipulation. Don’t forget. This is about building your relationship. So don’t use this time to deal with issues. Guard the fun.

• Keep it outside the house.

You probably already spend most of your time together in your home. It can be full of duties, responsibilities, and distractions, so get out and do something that is a contrast to your normal routine.

• Do it without friends.

Anyone you add to your time will drastically change the dynamic. Give your teenager individual and undivided attention, without your friends or their friends, and even without siblings.

• Mutually agree to turn off cell phones.

Make at least part of your time a no-electronic zone. Phones have a way of distracting you from meaningful and engaging dialogue.

• Put it on the schedule (but not on a Friday).

Be sensitive to how a teenager wants to organize his or her life. Discover the rhythm that exists in their schedule and agree with them on the best times to hang out.

• Stay flexible (and be willing to reschedule frequently).

A teenager’s world is always changing. They could feel trapped if you are rigid about your scheduled time with them. Don’t let your time with them become a competition with their other interests and priorities. Avoid making them choose between you and something else they really want to do.

• Remember your goal is not to change them.

Avoid getting into conversations where you are trying to correct or improve a behavior. Save those conversations for another time. You can shut down a positive experience if you try to leverage it to fix something.

• Keep working at it.

Learning to communicate with those you love can be awkward at times. Strive to ask the right kind of questions and listen more than you talk. You are not trying to become your teen’s best friend, but you are laying an important foundation for the kind of friendship you want to enjoy with them during their adult years.

• Use it as an opportunity to give your teenager approval.

I’m amazed at how many adults left home without ever really feeling like their parents believed in them. Look for numerous opportunities to encourage their specific strengths and skills.

Having fun and spending quality time together is increasingly important as your relationship with your child changes. This week, find out what kind of activities your teenager likes, and schedule some intentional time together when you can simply enjoy being together.

And if you have other tips you’ve discovered about spending time with a teenage son or daughter, please post them in the comments so we can all learn from our shared experiences.

(This guest post was submitted by Reggie Joiner. Reggie blogs regularly at http://orangeparents.org and http://orangeleaders.com and you can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/reggiejoiner)

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2010 in Guest Post, Kidmin, Orange

 

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