In her previous post, Leneita shared her story of how she changed her view of parents once she became one and had teens of her own. Partnering with parents is imperative and seeing parents through a new lens is essential. Today I want to share 4 easy steps to improve partnering with parents.
But first, here are a few reason why partnering with parents could take your ministry to the next level:
- Parents spend far more time with their kids than we do, and therefore they have far more teachable moments than we do…
- Parents who feel partnered with will support our ministries with their time, talent, and treasure…
- Parents are biblically the main instructors of their kids faith. We are not here to replace them, but to partner with them, (even if they are not following through on their part, we must see ourselves as partners in ministry)…
- Parents are chauffeurs to their kids and will do all they can to get their kids to good programs and events when we communicate effectively with them…
- Parents as partners can become our greatest supporters and allies when we encounter storms of ministry. Conversely, they can become our greatest critics when they feel disconnected from us…
Bottom line: Parents should be an integral focus to a healthy and vibrant youth ministry.
1) Be Where They Are: Games, concerts, and in the hallways of the church. When you go to watch sports games or concerts of your students, ensure that you seek out their parents there. Yes, it’s great to sit with our students, but’s imperative that we take the time to sit and talk with parents too. Some of my best insights and bridge-building moments have been at a sports game. The fact that you showed up to see their kid play will build bridges of communication.
2) Send Out A Monthly Newsletter: Rather than create all the content yourself, subscribe to ParentLink and let them create great content and then plug-in your calendar and events information. It’s simple to do and parents will thank you for the great resources and info!
3) Find Helpful Articles and Send Them Out Weekly: Just today I sent out an article about the online use of teenagers. Don’t assume that parents are scouring the internet for the latest articles in parenting. In between their work, car pooling, sports games, and family life, they barely have time to breathe. (If you are a parent of a teen, you know what I am talking about). As a youth worker I am tuned into teen culture and trends so that I can pass crucial info onto parents.
4) Over-communicate The Ministry Schedule: No matter how much I communicate, I can never seem to communicate enough for busy parents. I used to get frustrated by parents who kept missing my well crafted emails and up to date websites. However, we must consider how much info our parents get from schools, sports teams, clubs, and US. Parents need multiple ways to access information and get multiple reminders. Our communication should include:
- Weekly Email
- Up to Date Website and Calendar – Consider linking your website to Facebook too.
- Reminder Text Messages
- Monthly Newsletter.
This might seem like overkill, but I believe it is necessary!
Bottom line: Parents will thank you, they will support you, and they will get their kids to your programs when you over-communicate. It’s worth it.
Well, these are my top 4 easy ways. What would you add? How have you been burned by lack of partnering with parents? What has been the fruit of partnering with parents?