Youth ministry would be easier if we didn’t have to deal with parents, right? Then again there wouldn’t be youth ministry without them. While you can continue to look at them like a third wheel to your ministry groove, the reality is they are the people you need to take it to the next level.
Parents are an untapped and underutilized resource for youth ministers. In fact, three signs of a healthy youth ministry are where parents:
FEEL LIKE THEY KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON
Parents need to trust you, if they don’t they won’t invest in your ministry. The best way to build trust is through communication. Keep them posted on changes and give them plenty of time to know what’s on the horizon.
If they feel in the know they’ll be more willing to send their teens to your ministry. They’ll also be more willing to recommend it to a friend. And parents referring other parents is ministry gold.
HAVE THE PERMISSION TO GIVE FEEDBACK
You are the professional, but that doesn’t mean you know everything. Parents are in the trenches raising teens so they have a lot to offer. Get the right info from parents by asking them questions like:
- What’s the biggest challenge your family is facing when it comes to faith formation?
- What have you done in the past that’s helped your child engage in their faith?
- What is something you’d like your teen to know when it comes to their faith?
By asking the right questions you’ll discover what parents truly need, which helps you serve their family better.
ARE APPROPRIATELY INVOLVED IN THE MINISTRY
The usual go to for volunteers is parents. It’s easier to get them involved because they have an invested interest in what you are doing. The problem is sometimes they are too invested. Parents become too invested when they:
- Make decisions based off of their child’s preference.
- Feel they are the only person qualified to lead their child in small groups or classes.
- Ignore the needs of the other teens and their families.
Get them involved but set up parameters so they are looking at the ministry objectively. Welcome their perception because they’ll be able to see things you might not. They’ll be able to help you with other parents, making your partnership with them stronger.
That’s the vision, so let’s discuss how you get there. While you can offer a variety of programs and opportunities the best way to engage parents is by:
RECRUITING LEADERS WHO KNOW PARENTS NEED TO BE INCLUDED
This starts with the core team and flows down to the people who set-up tables and chairs. Remind them that youth ministry is more than just the teenagers. It’s meeting parents and walking with them in the formation of their child. Challenge your volunteers to:
- Reach out to parents, especially if they are small group leaders.
- To interact with parents dropping off and picking up their kids from ministry.
- Listen to parents if they have thoughts or feedback.
The more comfortable your team is with parents the more family friendly it will be.
FOCUSING ON THEIR FAITH FORMATION AND DISCIPLESHIP
If parents aren’t growing in their faith your efforts are going to fall short with their teens. Every time you interact with the teenagers you are getting them excited about their faith. If parents lack that passion it’s going to conflict and compete.
Get parents passionate about their kid’s faith by encouraging them to grow on their own. Work with your church staff to create discipleship opportunities like small groups. Get parents involved in ministry.
When parents know you have them in mind when it comes to their teen’s faith formation they’ll not only trust you but want you to succeed. Parents are another link to reaching more teens and making an impact on the surrounding community.
Question: What are some of the ways you are engaging parents in your ministry? You can leave a comment by clicking here.