Over the past 10 years, youth ministry 2.0 has shifted to 3.0 (Marko’s terms) with “partnering with parents” as one of its most important responsibilities. I feel that there are a number of reasons why this has shifted. First off, youth pastors are realizing that students are ultimately the parent’s responsibility. The students in your youth group are not ultimately your responsibility, but they are the parents. We as youth pastors sometimes fail by taking parents responsibilities and placing them on us. Secondly, 25 years ago, the church as a whole was revered by the community as a safe environment. So, parents trusted youth pastors and leaders. Today, that is a different story. Thirdly and most importantly, we as youth pastors have noticed that the healthiest student ministries are formed by healthy families! For these reasons, it is important now more than ever that we partner instead of replace parents in the students lives. We see why we should do this, but how? How can we partner with parents? Here are a few ideas for you to implement in your student ministry:
- Build Relationships with the Parents– Relationships are the key to successful partnership with families. If you do not know the parents, it will be much more difficult to ever give them advice and help with their student. Sit with them at their students’ games. Call them regularly to ask how the student is doing.
- Provide them with resources– There are tons of great resources out there that you can share with your parents about today’s youth culture.
- Send Regular Newsletters– Provide them regularly to keep them informed, but also to share resources and encouragement with them on a regular basis. We send a weekly simple newsletter with a featured resource or article about youth culture. We also stay up to date with upcoming events.
- Hold Parenting Seminars– This is a time where parents can get together with other parents and discuss youth culture, encourage one another, but also leave with a thought about parenting in today’s culture. Do not be afraid to hold these parenting seminars at your church.
- Welcome parents into your Ministry– Parents should be a part of your ministry. Do not close the doors, and leave parents out. Instead open the doors to allow parents to enter your ministry. You should welcome them as volunteers and leaders into your ministry. You should welcome them on events as chaperones. They should be able to come and worship with their student if they would like. For parents to feel a sense of partnership, they must feel a sense of belonging.
Question: How are you practically partnering with the parents of your students?