In my reflections on the 25 years of ministering here at Victory, I have great memories. I remember former students who have called my cell phone and just wanted to check in with me and see how I was doing. Once, after many years, a student from my second year here visited us. He, his wife, and baby girl were such a blessing. We had lunch, talked about their ministry and walk with God. Those calls, from Chicago and Utah, and the visits from former students brought me face to face with what Victory is all about. We are building relationships that go deep, reaching the hearts. We love these guys, really. The natural product of those relationships is heart influence. As Scripture is wrapped around the daily life here at Victory, their view of life is challenged and biblical answers are found to be true. That impacts the foundation of their worldview. That reveals the cracks in their self-focused worldview and brings light to the solid foundation of the biblical worldview. That impacts the inner man, the heart, life. As they see themselves as sinners in need of a savior, we then begin to show them the value of Christ and His work on the cross. When they see that at heart level, real growth of heart begins, life changes.
We have seen such good fruit in reaching the hearts of struggling young men that as I reflect, my adrenaline begins to flow and my focus is narrowed. Deep relationships have the ability to produce long-term influence and good fruit. Why I sometimes forget the sureness of the biblical sowing and reaping principle puzzles me. It puzzles me because one would think that by now I should recognize that correctly applying the Word of God produces good fruit. After all, good fruit is what those who are in Christ were designed to produce (Eph. 2:10). That is what God is in the business of doing in us. We recognize that we don’t see that fruit in every boy we work with, which reveals that our relationships didn’t get as deep as we wanted them to get. However, even with those we often see in the later years when they do finally grow up and commit themselves afresh to God, they call back and want us to pray, and they want to visit.
I have had the opportunity to work with well over a hundred young men in my time here. Many of those have gone on to succeed in life as policemen, firemen, missionaries, faithful employees, and great husbands and fathers. Today, in the day to day struggles of ministering to the guys we see little rays of hope as the light of the Word is shined on their hearts. That is what Victory is all about. We press on, influencing, reaching into one heart at a time, and seeing God work His work of changing lives from darkness to light.
Take some time to spend with your teen but don't just watch a movie or play a video game, TALK. Grab some coffee at Starbucks, go fishing, take a drive, go shopping or just take them out for their favorite meal.
Here are some conversation starters to help deepen the communication and make the time more meaningful.
1. Name three things you wanted as a kid but never got.
2. What was the happiest day of your life so far and why?
3. What is the dumbest purchase you ever made?
4. Which is better to you, $100 Million or true love?
5. If you wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? Why?
6. What kind of church do you think you’ll go to when you’re older?
7. What’s an area you feel I need to work on as a parent?
8. What’s the most difficult thing in the Bible for you to believe?
9. A Bible verse that has really stuck out to me lately is…
10. What friend has had the most impact on your life for God? Why?
So there are a few ideas to get you started. Make sure to make the questions / starters work both ways. Remember communication is a two-way street.
What other conversation starters have you found to work with your teens that may help other parents?
Leave a comment below or on Facebook.
Here are some other Parent Point Posts you may be interested in:
Making Time to Train Your Teen Before They're Gone.
Rules Without Relationship Equals Rebellion.
What Do Your Kids Think?
Click here to download a report on 10 Things Parents Often Miss in Raising Teens .
If you feel that Victory Academy or Mark Massey could be of help to your family or a family you know, please let us know. Just click here.
Victory Family Ministries
We're a group of folks who love helping teens and families. We also love learning and sharing what God has taught us in our over 50 cumulative years of working with families and teens.