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I had a real problem with parents my first few years in ministry. After unexpected interactions that bruised my ego and pride I found myself struggling to trust and believe that parents, had a clue about what their teens really wanted and needed. Fortunately there were a few parents I could trust and after becoming one myself, I’ve realized raising the next generation of disciples isn’t about me.
The relationship you have with the parents of the teens in your ministry can be filled with tension, frustration, fruit and beauty. If you embrace the relationship you have with them, you will find yourself grow as a professional and see the larger picture when it comes to family ministry. So, how do we go about doing that? What does that mean? Well, to recognize the importance parent’s play in your ministry means recognizing that:
This simple truth will help you understand how to approach each parent you come across. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons your needed and some of the reasons you are not.
Parent’s Need You Because You:
- Are An Authority In Ministry – Whether full time, part time, or volunteer you’ve been deemed as an authority in ministry. While you might not be a parent you have been designated as an expert in teenage culture. Parent’s need you to be the 10,000 foot perspective because they are constantly in the trenches with their teen. You can offer them an objective insight.
- Add An Alternate Voice – When teens clash with their parents the last thing they want to do is receive their guidance and wisdom. As a youth minister you are called to not only lead teens closer to Christ, but to bring families together. Teens might struggle to listen to their parents; however, they will listen to you. Parents want the best for their teens, be that liaison that helps them work it out.
- Act As A Sounding Board – When parents have no one to turn to, they turn to you. It might come out as a plea to “Fix Their Child” but you know they just have a lot weighing them down. Be the sounding board that reminds parents that they’ve got you to lean on.
Parents Don’t Need You Because:
- They Love Their Kid More – No matter what you believe, a parent loves their child more. Even if they struggle showing it, they love their child and only want the best for them. You need to respect that, because if you don’t they will take their teen out of your ministry and find someone who does. Never act like the replacement parent.
- Their Impact Is Greater – The teen might love, worship and respect you; however, their parent has a greater influence on them than you might think. When a parent hurts, it digs deeper than when a friend hurts. When a parent loves, it goes deeper than a friend’s love. By knowing parents have a greater impact you can utilize them to truly make a difference in their teens life. After all a parent is a child’s first role model.
Ideally parent’s should have the confidence to raise their child in Christ without you; however, recognize the importance of your role in their teen’s life. The conflict arises when you try to replace them. You are just one person, during one season of a teen’s life; a parents influence is forever. You will never compete with that. Best thing to do is be the person parent’s need, partner with them and let them know that you are on their side.
Why do parents need us?
Why don’t parents need us?