You may be wondering why Mighty Mom got away with asking four questions. Well, the only reason she did is because I ask her so many questions and she's always so nice to answer all of them. Here are Mighty Mom's questions:
What is the silliest situation you've encountered as a youth pastor? There are so many to pick from. Let me just say that a week long camp with Jr. High students is a breeding ground for pranks, mischief, and good 'ole fashion fun. But if I have to pick just one, it would be the "crud" war - a food fight with flour, shaving cream, and water balloons... all done in the snow!
What do you feel is your greatest legacy handed down from the women in your family, through you to your daughter, and onward? You mean besides shopping! =) I think what has been modeled for me is strong, spiritual women who feel confident enough to accomplish anything they desire.
My grandmother (along with my grandfather) was an independent insurance agent who worked out of their own office. I remember visiting that office as a little girl and recognizing at that time how strong and independent my grandmother was. While most of my friend's grandmothers stayed at home, mine had her own office, was a licensed agent, and went on business trips. She also was in charge of her church's library. It was a huge church and I was always so impressed that it was my grandma who ran it all.
Then there's my mom. There's not enough time and space to write how much of an impact she has had on me and my life. Even though she was a stay at home for part of my childhood, I mostly remember her as a working gal. She had some pretty high powered positions. She also had some really tough times but always pulled herself up out of whatever had her down. That always left an impression.
After she remarried, she went back to school and then seminary where she received her degree and was ordained as a minister. She has been a chaplain, a preacher, a teacher, a speaker, and a piano player for different churches. She has held several high positions within her denomination and worked within different para-church organizations. She is very spiritual and amazes me with her love for Christ that is both deep and wide.
Ever since I came back to the church (which was when Danielle was born), I have been involved in some kind of ministry. I feel God used me most when I was ministering to people. I did so in Children's, Women's, Stephen's, and then Youth Ministry. Besides having several different jobs, I also worked for myself doing desktop publishing for clients.
This is what I want to pass on to Danielle, and beyond. I want her to know that she can do whatever she puts her mind to. And I want her to know and love God in such a way that it impacts who she is and how she lives her life. I want her to find a way to serve Him that will bring her joy. And guess what? I already see this starting to happen. It makes me happy and proud.
What's the biggest mistake you've made as a mother and what advice would you give to help me avoid making the same mistake? Whew! What a loaded question. I've made many, many mistakes. There's many things I would do differently now that I can look back with a different perspective. But I can't go back, and I'm okay with that. I did the best I could and I think most moms do the same.
I think my number one piece of advice for any mom (or parent) is to keep the lines of communication open. Try to understand what your kid is feeling or what's going on with them. Do this by talking to them and asking them questions. Let them know how you feel about things and why, as a parent, you have to make the decisions you do. Be strong in your values and discipline, but support them, respect them, encourage them, and love them unconditionally. Make family life fun and as stress-free as possible, because the rest of their life will be full of stress and hardships.
What's the best way to get the teens who sit in the last pew to stop horsing around during the service and being distracting? I know you gave me some details regarding this situation but without knowing these kids are what your church service looks like, it's hard to answer this with a simple answer.
First, let me say I know how frustrating it must be to have to endure this kind of behavior during a service. But I have to agree with the sentiment, "at least they're here." I think it's important for teenagers to see and experience church services. There has to be some kind of assimilation from children's church into adult church. You can't expect them to know how to handle themselves or understand the meaning of the different aspects of a service if they aren't a part of it.
The problem is that they find it boring, they probably don't want to be there, and they're sitting with their friends - who all feel the same way. My first suggestion would be for the leaders to find some way to include them in the service. Give them a responsibility of some kind. Even the smallest act of serving can make them feel important and also help them understand the bigger picture.
Has anyone spoke to them, in a way that doesn't sound like scolding, explaining how their disruptive behavior affects those who are trying to worship, or pray, or listening to the sermon? Explain why that even though it might not be important to them (the teens), it is to the others in the room.
I also thought about the fact that the minister is also the youth leader. Maybe he/she could give some kind of incentive for the kids to listen and act appropriately. Like give a prize each week to the kid who can answer selected questions about the sermon, or to the kid who took notes, or something along those lines.
Sorry I don't have just the right answer that will automatically take care of the situation. Keep me updated on how it goes. Remember that they need God just as much as you do. And try to remember what it was like when you were a teenager.
Thank you to anyone who has read to the bottom of this post. Sorry it was so long. Blame Mighty Mom, her questions, and the fact that she had to have four ;D