SYMC 2016 – Real World Family Ministry

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This weekend I have been at The Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Chicago, IL. It’s been a great weekend so far and I have been so encouraged by the conversations, new connections, and inspiring worship and teaching.

In addition, I have had the privilege to invest in and encourage youth and family ministry workers as they seek to partner with the family to reach the next generation.

As promised, here are two links to .pdf documents I covered in my two sessions as part of the Real World Youth Ministry Half Track. 

They are available only until October 15th 2016. Contact Phil Bell if you are attempting to download after this date.

 

Phil <><

 

D6: Reaching and Equipping Disengaged Parents

ParentsToday was my last day at The D6 Conference in Louisville, KY. It’s been a great experience and I have enjoyed meeting some incredible people from all over the country. D6 is a fabulous conference full of inspiring and challenging general sessions, along with some highly practical and essential breakouts. I was privileged to lead a breakout titled: Reaching and Equipping Disengaged Parents. 

 

To get a copy of the outline, please contact Phil Bell by clicking here.

If you were at D6, I hope you had an incredible conference! I did!

Phil <><

[Podcast] ★ How to Team Up With Parents! ★

Terrace CrawfordLast week I had the privilege to speak to my friend and youth ministry blogger Terrace Crawford about my book Team Up! The Family Ministry Playbook for Partnering with Parents.

His podcast This Week in Youth Ministry is quickly becoming one of the most listened to youth ministry podcasts. I appreciated the opportunity to talk about my vision to partner with parents and I greatly appreciate how Terrace is bringing together voices from the trenches of ministry to equip others!

To listen to the podcast you can click here

Phil <><

Team Up! How to Become an Expert in Partnering with Parents!

Expert Lightbulb
 photo credit: Light bulb on desk via photopin (license)

Partnering with parents to reach the next generation for Christ should be an essential component for every children’s and youth ministry. While we get to partner with them through our weekly programs, it’s imperative that we understand that God has called parents to be the primary equippers of their child’s faith journey. It’s essential that we comprehend the greater influence of time that parents have with their children.

 “I get it, but what next? I’m not an expert on parenting!”

That was a statement I made many years ago as I grappled with how best to reach parents with a vision to invest in their child’s faith journey. I had quickly found that parents were looking for practical ways to invest in their children, but many times, they were lost for ways to help faith come alive at home.  And while I was not always the one to help them with every question, it was imperative that I develop a network of people who had the answers.

“Be an expert at helping parents find answers rather than one who’s expected to have the answers.” Team Up! The Family Ministry Playbook for Partnering with Parents. 

Consider the following experts and support you can provide parents: 

  1. “Been There” Parents: Who are the parents who are a few steps ahead of the parents in your ministry? While there are no perfect parents, it’s essential to connect your parents with those who have gleaned valuable lessons in raising their own children in the faith. Who are the “been there” parents in your ministry?
  2. Trained Christian Counselors: Every community has a number of counselors, but they do not all come from a Christ-centered perspective. Talk to your senior pastor and other church leaders to build a list of recommended trained christian counselors.
  3. Community Agencies: While many community agencies will not have the same mission as the church, they can often provide great practical help to the families in your church.
  4. Books: Ask parents if there are books that have helped them in their parenting journey. Create a list and even be prepared to ask a parent to write a review of the book for other parents to read.
  5. Websites: What websites and blogs can help parents in their faith journey. Recently at Kidmin2015 we created a list of websites, blogs, and apps that can help parents. Click here for the list. 
  6. Apps: Some of your parents are already using apps and loving the ideas and encouragement they bring. Ask parents if they have a “go to” app they use as they invest in their child’s faith journey. Once you have found that app on the app store, consider searching for similar apps to recommend them.

Parents see you as the expert whether you like it or not. It does NOT mean you have to know all the answers, but it DOES mean that you should be an expert in finding the answers!

What are your “go to” resources for parents? What are your favorite websites, apps, and books to recommend parents? 

Phil <><

 

Kidmin 2015 Resources to Partner with Parents

Abide Kidmin 2015Thank you to all those who attended my track at Kidmin 2015 in Chicago. I had a blast and loved spending time with Children’s ministry and family ministry workers who are committed to partnering with parents to reach the next generation for Christ.

One of sessions involved table groups brainstorming their “go to” websites, books, and resources for parents. Below is a list we created together. I have not investigated every resource, so please do your due diligence!

Websites: 

www.lifetreefamily.org

www.stickyfaith.org

www.refocusministry.org

www.homeword.com

www.rightnowmedia.org

www.biblicalparenting.org

www.gonoodle.com

www.prayforme.org

www.parentministry.net

www.d6ministry.com

www.familymatters.net

www.imom.com

www.allprodad.com

www.plugged.com

www.kidsinmind.com

techsavvyparenting.com

Apps: 

Family Talk – Dr. Dobson

The Bible for Kids

YouVersion Bible

Gabbit by Group

D6Family App and Splink Newsletter

Verse Rain – Memory Verse App

Scripture Typer

Family Faith

Books: 

Pass it on by Burns & Lee

Sticky Faith for Families by Powell

Confident Parenting by Burns

Tech Savvy Parents by Houseman

Redeeming Sex by Hirsch

Talk Now and Later by Dollar

Creative Correction by Welchel

The Power of a Praying Parent by Omartian

Bringing Up Boys / Girls by Dobson

Praying for Prodigal by Banks

Faith and the Modern Family by Jutila

Making of a Man by Brown

Raising a Modern Day Knight by Lewis

And The Bride Wore White by Gresh

Going Public by Pritchard

Additional Resources:

Love & Logic Institute

The Gospel Project by Lifeway

Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Parish Nurse Programs

Well, that’s we came up with in a 15 minute brainstorming session. Please add more resources in the comments! 

Phil <><

 

 

 

 

Kidmin 2015 Deep Learning Track Notes

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Thanks to everyone who came to the deep learning track called Parent Pain Points. A great deal of the content came from my recently published book, Team Up! The Family Ministry Playbook for Partnering with Parents.

As promised, below is a link to shortened outline with the main points and quotes from the 4 sessions I led. (Please note, there is an expiration on the link – The notes will be available until October 15th).

Click here for notes!

Feel free to give me feedback and please use the contact form if you have any questions?

It was such a pleasure to meet so many incredible children’s, youth, and family ministry workers!

Phil <><

Team Up! Partner with Parents with a Web of Support

PlayFor years, there’s been a tendency for us to focus solely on church programs and miss helping parents succeed at home. While many of us have heard of the importance of partnering with parents, there’s not always been a clear and practical picture of how to do it. That’s why I wrote Team Up! The Family Ministry Playbook for Partnering with Parents.
Today, we’ll look at a simple strategy that will help support and equip parents without requiring us to expend huge energy or to navigate a huge learning curve:

 

“All parents need a web of support to help them on their parenting journey. It’s our role to connect them. It’s important for them to be surrounded by people who can help and encourage them as they raise their kids.” Excerpt from Team Up! The Family Ministry Playbook for Partnering with Parents

Help Parents Develop a Web of Support

  1. Connect Parents with Each Other. So many parents feel isolated and alone. They often feel like they are the only ones who are struggling or making mistakes at home. Whether it’s promoting small groups in your church (even if that’s not your area of ministry), or creating intentional ways for parents to talk and connect within your program and events, parents need to know they are not alone.
  2. Connect Parents with Seasoned Parents. Who are the “been there” parents who have a heart for parents? Who are the seasoned parents who can help create events, small groups, and classes to pour into your parents? So often, we feel like the burden to partner with parents is solely on us. However, if we pray and watch, God will often show us those seasoned parents who can come alongside the parents of the children we are ministering to.
  3. Connect Parents with Volunteers. So often we provide volunteers with the focus to invest and pour into the kids in their group or program. But what would it look like if we changed their focus and gave them a revised “job description” that included reaching out to and encouraging a parent once a week? What if every volunteer in your children’s and youth ministry reached out to one parent each week? What impact would that have?
  4. Connect Parents with Professionals. Do you have a network of professionals you can quickly refer parents to in a time of need? Partnering with them does not mean that we have all the answers and expertise, it can mean that we know who to point them to. If you don’t have a list of counselors and trained professionals, today is the day to begin building one

There are a number of additional ways to build a web of support for parents, but hopefully you get the overall idea. Partnering with parents in children’s and youth ministry does not always require us to overhaul what we are doing, rather we can weave some essential components into what is already existing.

There’s lots more to say, and it’s written in Team Up! The Family Ministry Playbook for Partnering with Parents. Grab a copy and feel free to contact me and continue the conversation with questions and ideas!

Phil <><

Announcing: Team Up! The Family Ministry Playbook for Partnering with Parents

Team Up! About a year ago I began writing Team Up! The The Family Ministry Playbook for Partnering with Parents with GROUP Publishing. Today, I am excited to announce that it is available for purchase!

Why Did I Write It? About 15 years ago I realized that my ministry impact was limited if I only focused on the kids in my ministry and failed to include their parents. You see, our time with kids is limited, while the time parents get with them is much greater. In addition, and most importantly, God calls parents to be the primary faith equippers of their children while we are called to partner with them… If you have been around for even a short period of time in ministry, you have already heard this philosophy… So, how is this book different? 

It addresses the disparity between the philosophical need to partner with parents, and the practical application of what that looks like for children’s and youth workers in the local church.

For the last 15 years I have sought out practical ways to partner with parents and help them to become the spiritual champions of their kids. What is written on the pages of the book is a journal of practical ways that will help you and I partner with parents with greater effectiveness!

“So many books will give you a way to do ministry that is specific to their context, that it requires you and I to clone our ministries after them. My hope is that after reading this book you can keep your ministry identity, while also effectively partnering with parents as you reach the next generation for Christ.”

Who Is It For? In a nutshell, anyone who works with or has influence over those who work with children and students within the local church. It’s for church leaders as well as children’s ministry and youth workers. My hope is that church leaders can team up to talk about practical ways to reach the next generation for Christ…

What’s Next? Go ahead a grab a copy and join me in the next few months as I blog weekly about each of the chapters in the book. You can also join me at Kidmin Conference, September 25-27th in Chicago. I will be leading four sessions centered around partnering with parents. I would love to see you there!

Phil <><

15 Ways To Partner With Parents In Your Youth Ministry: The Final 5…

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.”

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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! 

Phil <><

 

photo credit: Rachel.Melton via photopin cc

15 Ways To Partner With Parents In Your Youth Ministry: The Next 5…

In my previous post I talked about ways in which you and I can partner with parents in our youth ministries. While you are called to youth ministry, it’s imperative that you adopt a ‘Think Orange’ approach (or whatever you want to call it), as we look to partner with parents. After all, the influence of parents on their kids is far greater than the influence you can have given the limited time you will have with them each week…

The two influences of family and church come together to make a greater impact on students. Therefore, it’s essential we find ways to partner with parents as they raise their kids.

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Our Problem: Although you may already agree with this philosophy of ministry, if you are like me, there have been times when I have been unsure as to how to implement a strategy to partner with families. In this post we continue to look at the next 5 of 15 practical ways you can implement a strategy to partner with parents. Some are not rocket science, while some will challenge you… Read more

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