session 2 shift: mark holmen and bubba thurman

Mark A. HolmenBubba Thurman

during this second session, mark cast vision for just how influential parents are in the spiritual formation of students. he cited a survey that measured the significant religious influences in a student’s life – the survey showed that mom and dad are 2-3 x more influential than any church program.

mark outlined 2 approaches for a church interested in instilling faith at home: a silo-ed approach where the different ministries individually moved towards similar family values or the second approach – which mark believes in – an integrated strategy where the values of faith at home run thru all ministries. mark’s message was similar to the one he gave at conspire children’s conference, which i presume is helpful for church leaders who desire to be moving towards a similar goal.

i appreciated bubba’s unique perspective on how this specifically applies to youth leaders. he defined paradigm blindness – meaning we often believe there is never going to be a better way to do youth ministry, bubba had to take a personal step back to understand what it means to influence parents. he described several hurdles we need to jump in order to move closer to parenting with parents: overcome pride (admit there is something wrong with the way we are doing ministry) and the hurdle of fear (that we have to completely change our ministry and are inadequate to do the job well)

i like bubba’s perspective, especially because as a children’s leader i often wonder what youth leaders think it means to influence parents. i’m anxious to have more conversations with youth leaders, small group leaders, worship leaders and sr. pastors about what it means to create a culture in which the church and home naturally connect.

follow up resources: D6 Conference looks interesting and Barna’s book, “revolutionary parenting”  is always a great read. i’m a fan of kurt bruner who is leading a new movement at

One response to this post.

  1. Unfortunately, I could not attend Conspire this year as I had already attended and spoke at both CPC’s through INCM. But I this issue of connecting with parents is huge with me and I hope to continue moving my own church in that direction. I was recently having a conversation with our SH youth pastor about how in the modern-day youth programs parents are barely given a cursory nod (maybe a parent meeting 1 or 2 times per year) and a message is clearly being sent: “You just send you JH and SH youth to us and we’ll teach them what they need to know about being a Godly disciple.”

    At the same time, when they DO have those meetings, how many actually show up? Around my church it seems to be about 15-20 families out of probably 80-90 (and that’s probably more than average). There is some type of disconnect!

    Parents should not and do not stop being the primary spiritual formators (is that a word?) of their kids simply b/c their kids go into the 6th Grade! The modern church has, in the phrasing of George Barna, not only missed the boat, but the entire ocean as well.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: