This is a part of my ongoing series on complaints Youth Pastor’s often hear.

The first post was about why we play games in Youth Ministry. You can read it here.

The second complaint comes from parents who will tell you that your Bible studies are too shallow, or aren’t deep enough.

In our case, we were told that the Bible studies were not “intellectually stimulating” enough.  Here’s how I typically respond to that.

  1. Not every kid is as smart as yours

No two students are the same! You can affirm the intelligence of their student while also recognizing you are trying to teach to everyone in the room! That means there are some students who need “the cookies on the bottom shelf.”

I will usually say “I often give students a chance to take the study a bit deeper by using our weekly devotional guide” or “Maybe your student is ready to do some Bible study on their own!”

You might have a service that’s meant for outreach and one that’s more for deeper Bible Study. If that’s the case, direct this parent and student to your deep dive!

  1. We’ve got a lot of students who know nothing about the Bible

You probably have students who don’t know their Noah’s from their Nabal’s! We need to help some of these students get a grasp on the Bible as a whole! Even though some students have been in church nine months before they were born, you have some students who have never been in church at all.

You could easily say “I’m going to have to spend some time explaining what’s going on in the background of the Bible. Without context, a lot of the Bible just sounds crazy!” That may not seem stimulating to your student, but to others it’s crucial!

  1. Here are some books your student can read on their own to grow in their faith

Nobody expects our only source of spiritual feeding to come from a church program, right? RIGHT!?

Just like we don’t just grow because we listen to the pastor, our students will have to grow by seeking out the truths of Scripture on their own. I’ll ask parents if their students are reading the Bible for their own benefit on a regular basis. If they say they are and still want more, no problem!

Normally, I have a few books that I recommend to parents right away. You may come from a different background than I do and that’s fine, but having a “shortlist” of books is always a great start!

For reference, here is mine:

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Spiritual Disciplines by Donald Whitney

Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer

  1. Is your student ready to lead a small group or serve?

Some students are legitimately on another level. They know their faith really well and are really strong in their growth! These students should be serving! I usually lead with asking these students to help out in other areas, but having them teach in small blocks to the large group, or help lead a younger small group with a caring adult or two along with them might be a great win for everyone!

Parent tips

More often than not, this complaint either comes from a parent who thinks their seventh-grader is ready for college or a student who tells their parents whatever they think they need to see in order to not come to youth group.

For the first type of situation, I will often flood this parent with information. This is our teaching scope. This is why we teach the way we do. These are all the chapters of the Bible we are going to cover. Once you show them that you know what you’re talking about, the real issue tends to rise to the surface.

For the second situation, I love to ask the student if we can meet and talk about youth group. Usually, they’ll come clean, or at least be more specific with their complaint. Either way, it’s a win to the parent because I’m reaching out to the student personally.

What do you do with this complaint?