5 Ways to Empower Parents in Your Youth Ministry
Not all parents are capable or willing to join your youth ministry team in a relational role (hanging out with and loving on teenagers). Today, we will look at some ways to involve parents who aren’t ready to serve on the “front lines” but can definitely make a big difference behind the scenes. Here are five ideas to connect parents:
1. Parents Network / “Been There” Referrals
Experienced youth workers understand that they don’t have to handle every pastoral need on their own. It would be good for everyone if you can compile a list of parents who you believe can offer other parents support and encouragement. Sometimes a hurting parent simply needs to be connected with someone else who has “been there” (through a similar difficulty) before. If you can find one “been there” adult and ask him/her to help you identify other parents who have experienced some pain and are willing to share their learning with others.
2. Office Help
We find this hard to believe, but some people really enjoy office work (and they’re not the typical type of parent who wants to spend time with teenagers). By finding a couple people who will help with office tasks, details, etcetera, you will empower parents to serve while adding a little more organization and professionalism to your youth ministry (not that you need it).
3. Message Prep Team
If you teach on a regular basis, one way to stay fresh is to get input from others. Instead of simply asking teenagers or other volunteers, consider inviting a few trusted parents to help prepare your teaching and/or programming. Just make sure everyone agrees to a “loose grip” mentality where all ideas and input are held lightly and may not make it when you craft your final message.
4. Logistics Help for Camps, Trips, and Retreats
Not all parents may not be ready to work with teenagers directly, and as we’ve noted, that’s okay. But most parents can fit into a supporting role. Ask parents to make your events easier for you and better for your students. Parents can drive, set up, clean up, host small groups or parties, or oversee the food. How many moms would love to make cookies for your next overnighter? (They’ll be less tempted to bake with NyQuil than you will).
5. Write Letters
Everyone loves to get personal mail! We’re both huge fans of handwritten letters to teenagers. As the digital world progresses, the value of an “analog” note rises higher. Parents can write notes on behalf of your ministry to visitors, birthdays, or students who make spiritual commitments. The parent can write from “The Youth Ministry” and you can dream up many reasons for teenagers to get a short note.
This article “5 Ways to Empower Parents in Your Youth Ministry” by Matt McGillis, was excerpted from: www.youthministry.com web site. June 2010-10-12. It may be used for study & research purposes only.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”