My response to an unsupportive parent meeting [Time Out]

Topic / Time Out

Time Out quiet times for the youth worker's soulTime Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.

I still remember the first time I held a “parents meeting.” There were some things I was hearing and I wanted to address the parents, letting them know what we were doing and why. I thought that if I gave them some of my philosophy of ministry, it would help them understand what we were doing.

I guess I was wrong. For the most part, parents were really supportive. Some had very specific thoughts about how things should be done and made comments under their breath. It got really stressful pretty quick. By the end of the meeting, I had parents coming up to me trying to encourage me, writing cards, phone calls, and in tears because of how things went. I went home and found my first gray hairs. Literally. (They’ve greatly increased since then too, and I’m only in my early 30’s). By the time the day was done, I had about 75% supportive parents, 5% unhappy parents, and 20% that were so confused by what just went on.

Sure, we’re not always going to agree, and I’m fine with that. It was the tone of the meeting that I found so difficult. Then, I had a decision to make – how was I going to act.

The immediate temptation is to fight back, disregard, or further escalate things. I wanted to do all three, and probably started to do some.

But Jesus calls us to do something different. In Matthew 5, Jesus urges us to “turn the other cheek.” This is basically with regards to insults, not fists, but that’s another story. When the whole passage is viewed together (read all the way to the end of the chapter), Jesus is talking about retaliation. He’s talking about fighting back and allowing things to escalate. We can’t allow that to happen. Jesus isn’t saying don’t fight for justice or stand up for yourself, he’s talking about retaliation.

Jesus gives us a different option – go out of your way to do something for that person. Don’t let their foul treatment define what we do. Instead, go the extra mile for someone. Help them. Send them a card. Do something really nice for their kid. Anyone can simply like the people who like them. We’re called to something different.

On a side note, I know that we talked about this basic topic not too long ago. One thing that I learned is that Satan will continue to try to attack your ministry, your family, your church. One of the biggest ways he’s going to do that is with how people treat you (especially in youth ministry). We need to continually be reminded on how to deal with these things, because it is so critical not only to our ministry, but our own spiritual health.

Posted on December 5, 2011

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