The more I’m a part of student ministry; the more I realize the need to connect with the parents of my students. The emphasis on working with parents in student ministry is a recent trend, and I believe it is both healthy and biblical. When it comes to parent ministry, I believe there are two major objectives: Informing and Equipping. But then question that arises, “What does this look like in actual ministry?” This is a question I’ve wrestled with as a student pastor, and I would like to provide a few ways to help you connect with the parents in your student ministry.
- Hosting a Parent Luncheon
I’ve learned that parents love information. The more informed they can be, the happier they are. So when it comes to what your ministry calendar, remember this important fact. One helpful way to inform your parents regarding your ministry is to host a luncheon for them. Show the parents you appreciate them, and convey your ministry is a partnership with them in the spiritual development of their student. To begin the ministry year this past fall, we brought in a catered lunch for our student ministry families, and I proceeded to provide rationale for our ministry along with a fall calendar of our ministry events.
- Frequent Emails and Reminders
Not only do we want to continually inform and equip our parents initially, but we also want to sustain this practice throughout the year. One very helpful way of doing this is through frequent emails and reminders. It’s difficult to provide a formal meeting on a monthly basis, so I try to utilize emails to keep my parents in the loop as to what is happening in our student ministry. This gives a great opportunity to let your parents know what you are teaching on in your weekly gatherings, and allows you to help them know how they can personally be involved in the spiritual growth of their student. Also, this allows you to give all pertinent details for upcoming events.
- Making Them a Part of Your Ministry
Among the busy schedule of your student ministry, make sure to never neglect to give your parents the opportunity to be a part of what you’re doing. Never make them feel like they’re the outsiders. This could simply mean inviting them to a weekly gathering one night, or this could be inviting them to serve as a chaperone during one of your ministry events. Parents also make great student ministry leaders. Perhaps there’s a parent whom you sense is gifted in serving students. Invite them to be a part of what you’re doing! I’ve personally witnessed many parents who are excellent leaders in student ministry!
- Meetings for Special Events
When it comes to your ministry event calendar, you have the small-scale events, and the large-scale events. The large-scale events include things such as camps, retreats, and any other overnight trips. When it comes to these large-scale events, make sure your parents know exactly what their student is doing and what they’ll need to do it. I often hold parent meetings before these kinds of trips, because it’s important for parents to know exactly what will be involved, and how they will need to prepare, especially when it involves the student being away from the home one or more nights.
These are a few ways I’ve found helpful when it comes to connecting with parents in student ministry. The goal is to both inform them of what your ministry is doing, and equip them to invest in their students spiritually through your partnership with them. I would encourage you to continually think of ways to both of these, as we seek to raise up the next generation of faithful students who are rooted in the gospel, and then sent on mission into the world.
Mark Etheridge currently serves as Youth Pastor at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Pittsboro, NC. He is also enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in their Master of Divinity program in Christian ministry. You can connect with Mark on both Twitter and Facebook.