In my previous two posts we covered 10 ways in which you and I can partner with parents effectively. Before we jump into the final 5, let’s recap the importance of partnering with parents in youth ministry:
In ‘Think Orange’ by Reggie Joiner, we read:
“No one has more potential to influence a child’s relationship with God than a parent… No one has more potential to influence the parent than the church… The church’s potential to influence a child dramatically increases when it partners with a parent.”
Therefore, if you and I want to invest and influence a students faith, it’s imperative that we seek ways to support, equip, and effectively partner with parents. After all, they have been with their kids a lot longer than we have. They spend more time with their kids than we do. And they will continue to influence their kids well after they have graduated…
Here are the final 5 ways you and I can partner with parents. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments too!!!
11. Model Healthy Family. In Philippians 4:9 Paul states,
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Not only did this great man of God get to teach the scriptures, cast vision, and lead his people, he did life together with them in the city of Philippi. The Philippians got to see first hand how he lived his life and modeled Christ to them. Families are looking for authentic leaders (who don’t have to have it all together), who are earnestly seeking the best for their families. If we truly want to partner with parents, it’s imperative that what we say and teach is backed up by a model of what healthy family. No one expects us to be perfect, but they need us to lead as we put our family first…
12. Create Parent / Student Events. We know that adolescents don’t always want mom and dad around don’t we? However, there are certain strategic times where we can create an event to bring students and parents together. A number of years ago in a previous ministry, we had students make and serve dinner with their parents. While the idea wasn’t rocket science, it was amazing to see how impactful it was for the students to serve their parents. What is more, we got to meet many parents from fringe kids and begin to develop relationships from that point on. Consider what events would be a win for parents and students?
13. Recruit Parents for Youth Ministry. This can be awkward depending on the family and the dynamics of the parent / student relationship. But, some of my best youth leaders and small group leaders have been parents. (Remember, somebody else’s parents are always cooler to talk to). Here’s some guidelines however:
- Ensure the student is good with their mom / dad being there. Review this from year to year since the parent / student relationship can change
- Avoid having the parent / student in the same small group
- Instruct the parent that they are “not allowed to parent” at youth group
- Don’t allow parents to get involved in drama that involves their student
- Don’t recruit parents who want to “check up” on their student
While involving parents can be a little messy, good boundaries and expectations can help it to be a win for students and parents. Again, some of your best leaders will be parents of students…
14. Train Volunteers to Partner with Parents. Have you ever considered the impact of partnering with parents if your volunteers were to invest and partner with parents too? Just as we rely on great volunteers to reach every student in our ministry, we also need them to partner with parents too. If your volunteers can catch the vision and take their time to invest in relationships with parents, the impact on the student will be far greater than just you and I.
15. See Potential In EVERY Parent. This is the final, but perhaps the most important way you and I can partner with parents… For years I have heard youth workers complain about parents. The truth is, there are no perfect parents and you and I will never be either. But here is a great reality for you and I:
When we look for potential instead of perfection, God opens our eyes to greater ways in which we can partner with parents.
Well, there you go! That about rounds up the 15 for you. But, let’s not stop there. Please weigh in and add your ideas and comments below!