[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 <><

7 Keys to Influencing Church Leadership to Partner with Parents

You’ve likely heard it said that our time with kids and students is getting shorter in an increasingly busy extra curricular culture. Parents however, still have the greatest influence with their kids, While what we do on a Sunday or midweek program is vital, it’s imperative that we make a shift in our time and resources to help parents to succeed at home. But, it’s not entirely up to us, is it?

Influencing church leadership to embrace a vision of reaching the whole family is critical. After all, your leaders set the direction of the church. And if the church employs you, it’s likely you will have to get them to buy into partnering with parents. But that’s not always easy to do! Team Up! The Family Ministry Playbook for Partnering with Parents.

Here’s the question I get asked a whole lot! How can I get buy in from my pastor or church leaders to reallocate my time and resources to partner with parents? 

Climbing Leadership

While it can often feel like climbing a mountain alone, there are some practical and tactical steps you can take to gain buy in from those who lead us: 

  1. Focus on your Job Description First. It doesn’t matter if you are a volunteer or full-time, the leaders in your church see your primary responsibility to invest in children or students (or both). We have to remember that the idea of partnering with parents, and the titles of “Next Generation” or “Family Life Pastors” is foreign to many leaders in the church. We also have to consider that there is a certain way children’s and youth ministry has been done over the years. Therefore, it is essential that we gain influence first by doing a great job in the role that we were called to. It can take two or more years to establish a healthy ministry before partnering with parents can truly become a focus. While this might be frustrating, it doesn’t mean you can’t infuse partnering with parents into your role, it just might take a little longer to arrive…
  2. Pursue Healthy Conversations. Part of our role is to constantly find ways to passionately talk up the need and vision to partner with parents. However, in my experience it is crucial to pursue conversations that are positive and filled with great reasons why, as opposed to criticizing what the church is missing out on. In pursuing healthy conversations with the decision makers in your church, keep in mind that they are usually managing multiple people, plans, and ideas. Therefore, ensure that you come prepared.
  3. Own the Vision. Can you articulate why it’s essential to partner with parents in a sentence or two? Can you provide a biblical basis along with specific examples of how partnering with parents is more effective? Chapter 4 in my book provides a clear vision for you to articulate. If you need help in this area, consider picking up a copy.
  4. Have a Strategy. One of the greatest shortcomings in my early days was not having a good strategy that other leaders could support. Having a strategy that includes a timeline and specific steps showing a progression of implementation is crucial.
  5. Share Stories. A story of life change is always going to be the most effective way to cast vision with leaders in the local church. We all want to know one thing. Does it work? Providing stories of how partnering with parents is making your ministry more effective and how it is helping parents to be more effective is so crucial. It ultimate serves as a crucial way to cast vision for leaders.
  6. Request “Stage Time”. I am very fortunate in my church when it comes to my senior leaders supporting the vision to partner with parents. It’s not difficult to ask for opportunities to cast the vision in the overall church. However, this has not always been case. Even though there are always so many events to be promoted and given stage time, it shouldn’t mean that we do not ask. As long as we don’t come across as whiney kids, you and I might be surprised by the opportunities that come our way.
  7. Commit to the Long Haul. One of the greatest ways you and I can influence leadership to capture a vision for partnering with parents is longevity. When you have been around for a while and you have a track record of “getting your job done” as well as having gained trust with key leaders, longevity brings influence.

What would you add to this list? How much “buy in” do you have with your church leadership to truly partner with parents? Is it just an add on, or is it something that is weaved into your role? Who are the leaders and influencers you need to connect with this week to discuss your vision to reach the whole family?

Phil <><

photo credit: Aiguille du Midi, Mont-Blanc via photopin (license)

New Year and a New Blog from Phil Bell

Do you ever feel like it’s time to start over?

Have you ever sensed a change in direction and felt compelled to follow a new plan?

This new blog is a reflection of some significant changes that have taken place in my life over the past year…

For my regular readers to youthworktalk.com, you know that back in September I started a position in a new church as Pastor of Family Ministry. Given all the changes in my ministry, moving house, and the Christmas season, I felt like it was right to pause writing until I could focus effectively.

Read the rest of this post over at my new blog

Why Volunteer Youth Workers Need Greater Investment From The Local Church

In my opinion, volunteer youth workers are worth their weight in gold! However, so often the church places too much emphasis on the paid staff and not nearly enough in investing in it’s volunteer youth workers.

Volunteer Youth Worker Training

Here are four reasons why I think the local church needs to invest greater time and resources in volunteer youth workers, today and in the future: 

1) Paid Youth Workers Are Decreasing in Numbers: Recently I had a conversation with a youth ministry guru who advises and consults churches. During our time together he made a good argument for how church finances will impact the ability to hire youth workers in the future. You see, Millennials are giving more to causes and less to churches. Churches across the country are already seeing their incomes decline. If this trend continues, we should expect paid positions in youth ministry to be lost and greater emphasis placed on volunteers.

In the next 10 years I expect the landscape of youth ministry to be filled with volunteers who are being trained by the church to do ministry… Read more

Everybody’s Urban: An Interview with Leneita Fix

Last week I got the chance to catch up with friend, youth worker, writer, and contributor to youthworktalk.com, Leneita Fix. Her new book with Jeffrey Wallace is Everybody’s Urban: Understanding The Survival Mindset of the Next Generation – Here’s a quick interview that covers the content and purpose of the book.

 

You can pick up her book at Simply Youth Ministry’s Website or at Amazon. 

Phil <><

Starting Fresh: 4 Keys Starting Right In A New Youth Ministry

I recently started a new full-time youth ministry gig about 6 months ago. For a while I was the shiny new toy at our church, and that was fine! But in reality, it can be difficult to start fresh at a new place, with all of the cultural learnings, expectations from leaders/students/parents, as well as different people pushing their own agenda. But here are some of things I learned in this transition, and maybe it can help you if you’re ever starting fresh somewhere.

Starting Right In Youth Ministry

Read more

FREE Q and A Webinar from ParentMinistry.net with Dr. Jim Burns!

Don’t miss this!!! Share this with your parents!!!! Our friends from ParentMinistry.net are doing another FREE Webinar!

Dr. Jim Burns leads a free Q and A webinar on Tuesday, March 19 at 2 pm (central) It’s a chance for you to ask your questions about parenting teens… register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8154249060093242368

Jim Burns

GUEST POST: Does Your To-Do List Match Your Youth Ministry Priorities?

We all have plenty of projects that are due sooner than we can manage. Your submission for the newsletter was due yesterday, you still need volunteers for the fundraiser dinner, and yes, you’ve still got 67 unread emails.

Youth Ministry To Do List

That’s why it’s so easy to spend eight hours blowing through a to-do list that doesn’t do too much to further the Kingdom.

You already know that the time you spend directly with students and volunteers represents the most significant impact you can make. But how much of those things wind up in your day planner?

How many get put off until a day that’s less busy, even though we both know that less busy days almost never happen?

If your to-do list is filled with items that don’t line up with your ministry’s priorities, it’s time to make some changes. Read more

4 Essential Phases of Small Groups In Youth Ministry

So often I talk to my volunteers about their struggles in leading their small group. At the beginning of the year many of them struggle to either get students to talk, or in some cases struggle to reign in their group. By the end of the year they are challenged with how ‘checked out’ students can become. I have found that there are certain phases that most small group must go through. There are some things we can do to help the group get the most out of their time, and there are some realities that we simply need to accept. Here are 4 phases I tell my volunteers about in our small group leaders training manual: Read more

BACK TO SCHOOL GIVEAWAY: 1 Year Access to SYM ‘TEAM’ TOOL

You could win a 1 year access to SYM ‘Team’ Tool! Simply Youth Ministry have developed this brilliant resource to help with applications, background checks, and training (including videos by experienced in the trenches youth workers), in one simple-to-use online interface.

How can you win?  By Tuesday September 4th 2012, comment to this post and tell us the following: 

1) Are you full-time, part-time, volunteer. 2) What are the greatest training needs for you and your youth ministry team?

Check out the Team Tool promo video and the screen shot of the interface (below). 

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