The more that I am in student ministry, I realize that my ministry is not totally to the students. For years, student ministry became a ministry specifically for students, but not the parents. Now, it seems that student pastors and leaders are realizing that way of doing ministry created many problems, and is not the way that student ministry was designed to be. Student ministry is not a baby sitting service, but it is an avenue that we should be involved in to assist and partner with the parents! You are not the parent of that student, but you should be assisting and partnering with the parents. I work with parents, and I deal with many issues like you do. Today, I want to give you a few quick thoughts on empowering your parents to do their job:
- Remind them that their students are their responsibility– Now, do not be ugly about this, but this is the truth, and they need to hear it. We are not held responsible for our students, but their parents are. I believe that parents will be held accountable for the way that they raise their students, not the youth pastor. Parents need to be reminded of this truth.
- Listen to their struggles and frustrations– Do you have those parents who always come to you with their problems and struggles? Sometimes, it can be aggravating, but in reality, that is not necessarily a bad thing. They are venting to you looking for hope, and we have the hope of Jesus to give them! Give them hope in the midst of their frustrations and struggles.
- Train your parents practically– Learn about student culture, and what parents are facing in their homes. I have a 1-year-old baby girl so I do not know a lot about a student in my home, and what we will face, but I can read and learn about it. Find the struggles, and train your parents through emails, blogs, resources, and meetings on how to overcome the different practical obstacles that they face with their teenager. When I first started out, my meetings and newsletters were solely informative, but there was no training. I now have realized that I wasted a couple of years of ministry and had to grow to learn that training parents is one of my main responsibilities. If you are not training them, do not expect to have a strong family ministry!
- Love them– This is a lost principle in student ministry if you ask me. We love our students, and we would do anything for our students, but what would happen to our student ministry and our church if we treated each parent that same way? What if you went out-of-the-way for the parents like you do for the students? It is just a thought. Love them!
[Question]: How are you actively empowering and partnering with your parents?