For years, I have surveyed student ministries, and have seen a similar system set up. Parents drop off their students to youth group for the service or for an activity. Then, wait in the vehicle (hoping to not be seen) to pick up their student from the service or activity. Very rarely have I seen systems of student ministries that have a student/parent together ministry. Now, I have seen the system go the opposite direction after the “Divided” movie.Many ministries have moved to a complete integration of their services with parents, teens, and children all together. I personally do not hold to this style of church. I think that student ministry is a great asset to families in the community. So, what system should we have?
Here is what I would like to see in our student ministry involving parents:
- Parents to feel welcome and a part of our Wednesday youth group program– One thing that I want to do this year is create a parents night where all parents come and worship with us! Now, the students are not going to be a big fan of this right away, but hopefully over time, we can change that. I would love for parents to come on Wednesday nights and feel welcome. I would love to see parents show up and serve on Wednesday’s or just come and see what is going on.
- Parents to attend more events/activities– Our student ministry is growing, and we can have up to 50-60 on any given event at times, and it is tough to get committed leaders to attend those and help. I would love to see more involvement during events for parents! I would like to change the mold where students and parents want to get away from each other, and instead bring them together through the church!
- Parents to have a strong and healthy relationship with their students/ small group leader– This is a big one for me, and it requires an effort from both the leaders and the parents, but I believe that it can be done. It has been done with some of our leaders, but others hardly know the parents of their students. By the end of the year, I would love to see a consistent communication going with the parents and the small group leaders.
- Parents to have an honest and open relationship with my wife and I– Now, I do not want to take the place of the small group leader, but I also want a relationship with the parents of our students. I do not want to seem distant from them in any way. I want to be approachable and welcoming of them and their ideas or concerns.
- Parents to consistently pray for myself, small group leaders, and the students of the Grove– We covet the prayers of our parents, and honestly if the parents are failing to pray for the leaders and students, shame on them! That is harsh, but it is the truth! We need prayer, and the easiest (but most difficult sometimes) thing to do for parents is pray for the students.