Teaching: Involving Parents

As leaders of youth ministries, it should be our goal to minister with parents, not around them.

Sometimes partnering with parents can be a difficult chore, but there are many benefits:

• It reminds the parent of the Scriptural mandate for them to be the spiritual leader of the home.
• It fosters a level of communication that is appropriate for the student’s own spiritual development.
• In a second-hand way, it serves as an opportunity to reach unbelieving parents for Jesus.

A few ideas of how you can involve parents in a greater way in your ministry to teens:

1. Ask parents to come to your group meeting, on your trip, or to your event.

2. Invite parents to a discussion group where they can ask questions about youth culture, your ministry in particular, or trouble they are having with their teenager.

3. Connect parents with each other so they can talk about their common struggles and celebrate when great things happen.

4. Send a weekly e-mail or letter to your parents describing what you are teaching in a given lesson. Include some follow-up questions they can ask over the dinner table or in the car on the way to school.

5. Send a monthly update on things that are upcoming, issues they need to be aware of, etc.

6. Ask your parents to partner with you in prayer for your students.

7. Give them a helpful list of ideas they can share with their teen separate from their child's experience at church (volunteering together somewhere, taking a trip, having a family fun night, etc.)

8. Make sure your parents know how they can get a hold of you if they have questions.

9. Always involve parents in discussions with kids about their decision to become a Christian. When possible, make sure that the parent is helping the teenager navigate through that decision—studying the Scriptures, being present at a baptism or confirmation, etc.

10. Make sure that the students know that you support the parents.

11. Be a surrogate parent for kids in your ministry who don’t have supportive parents at home.

12. Select a few parents each week and write thank-you cards for their part in their child’s Spiritual development.

We have an hour or two with students each week. They spend an exponentially larger time in their homes with their parents. If we aren’t praying for, equipping, and working with their parents, we aren’t effectively functioning as youth ministers at all.

Sit down and brainstorm a few ways you can start involving parents more in your particular ministry context.

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