Two Steps of Partnering with Parents
Parenting is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. There you are in hospital, with a brand new baby and all of a sudden the hospital staff is like, “Alright, that was fun. Thanks for coming, see you next time.” and then they make you leave. The Dr. wants to send you and your spouse home with this child, that has no instruction booklet or anything. Most of us are still a child ourselves, or at least we act like one. How in the world are we supposed to raise one? The parenting fears and doubts spiral from here throughout your time as a parent. Sometimes parents wish they had someone who could come alongside them, who understood them and could help.
As a youth pastor or small group leader, this is where you have a fantastic opportunity to make an impact. One relationship I believe is often overlooked is the one between a youth pastor or small group leader and our students’ parents. I don’t feel this is done intentionally. Honestly, I believe it’s quite the opposite. We can become so focused on cultivating a relationship with our students, we forget about the parents.
Partnering with parents is essential for healthy family growth.
Every parent has had that moment when they’ve told their child something for the 74,000 times and then some other adult their child trust, says the SAME thing one time, and it clicks for the child. Parents need the church to come alongside them to reinforce their truths. Even if you don’t agree with the overall parenting style of the parent, there is usually some aspect of their logic that you can help to defend the parent to the student. The Bible is clear that the parents are the leaders of the household, not the children. As you support the parents, while loving on their children, you are encouraging healthy family structure within their home. The student is not hearing you undermine their parent. This is super important. No child deserves to doubt their parent’s competence as a leader within the home. You are subtly reinforcing biblical truth to the student also. Either you are reinforcing biblical truth the student hears at home, or you are pouring into the student, and they could introduce Jesus into their household.
Partnering with parents is essential for healthy ministry growth.
Let’s face it we can’t do ministry on our own. Good thing we were never asked to, nor intended to. Nothing is better than having someone come alongside you, say they believe in you and want to help you. This is what parents will do for you when they know you’re there for the students, but also them. This begins with having clear and open communication with parents. The craziest thing happens when you do this. As it turns out, most parents want the best for their kids and usually want to help. Now, you are creating new spaces and opportunities for parents to serve. I’ve never met a ministry that had too many volunteers or had to beat volunteers off with a stick. Having multiple people who share the same vision will allow you to delegate tasks and projects and free you up to do more things and reach more people. Now the parents are becoming emotionally and physically invested in your ministry.
We should make every effort to ensure we are approachable by students and adults. In every capacity; serving, listening, showing up, and loving others. Ministry can be tough enough; we need to make sure we are reaching our students and their families every way possible. There’s no better way than having the family actively serve together.