Thursday, July 30, 2020

Partnering With Parents in Youth Ministry

We may be ministering to students within youth ministry, however we must not forget that we are actually ministering alongside parents, to their students. When we view youth ministry from this perspective, parents suddenly become co-ministers in the pursuit of the youth ministry’s vision and it becomes more natural to look for opportunities to work together. Let us explore three crucial areas that require our attention when partnering with parents in youth ministry.

Although it is no secret that properly planned promotion can increase attendance for events, it is helpful to remember that parents can assist in the promotion of the events as well. But how can we let them know of what’s up and coming? The five or ten minutes after service can be one of the most powerful windows of time to connect and build rapport with parents. While this can be effective, there still exists great benefit from a communication system that informs parents of youth ministry needs and upcoming events. A quarterly calendar is very helpful, and a monthly publication like an email or a newsletter can greatly assist in keeping everyone on track. Furthermore, if an event has been promoted within your prior communications, then a final friendly reminder can provide that extra little bit of help in keeping the event at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

According to AAA, only 54% of teens are getting their license before turning 18, which means that parents are oftentimes the individuals driving the students to youth services and youth-based events. By respecting the parents’ calendars through a consistent communications system, we are able to create a partnership with the students’ parents instead of vying for their students’ availability. If the parents are unaware or under-informed regarding the events of the youth ministry, the family’s household calendar may not be able to make the youth ministry a priority (Or the parents may not be available to drive their students to the events). A way to work around this may be to ask youth leaders and students who already have their license to assist in picking up other students. Yet even with this suggestion, a proper communications system between us and our leaders would still be necessary if students need to be connected to various drivers.

When we don’t have a communications system in place that keeps parents in the loop, this can potentially affect the finances of both the families and the church. Last minute notifications sent to parents that ask for money can come off as disrespectful. After all, many households plan their budgets a month in advance. If the church forgets to promote an event ahead of time and then at the last minute realizes that too few students have submitted their deposit, an urgent “Sorry that we forgot to remind you…” email may not go over well. If a family’s budget is set and it does not have wiggle room for extra expenditures, it may place a household in an awkward situation where they have to put groceries on the credit card in order to be able to send their student to the youth ministry event. Such a scenario could potentially impact the church’s finances if parents have to unexpectedly reallocate funds from their normal tithe in order to secure the necessary funds. Finally, communicating financial needs well in advance can lessen the load of the youth ministry’s overall budget if more students are able to pay for the event without needing to ask for a scholarship.

Parents want to be prayer partners with us. They want to help intercede for their student and to help pray over the entire youth ministry. By keeping them informed, this can help the youth ministry stay in alignment with the church’s vision. When we do this, we invite and encourage the parents to be co-ministers who work alongside us rather than in competition with us.

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