How well are you doing with connecting parents to your Youth Ministry?
If you desire to have a Youth Ministry that has any real significant influence, you will have to do well at partnering with parents. I have written previously about the importance of partnering with parents, as well as your biggest problem communicating with parents.
Believing that partnering with parents is important is a start, but it is not enough. You have to connect parents to your ministry. How do you do that? Well, since you asked, here are 5 ways to connect parents to your ministry:
1. Communicate clearly and often
Let’s be honest, you cannot partner with someone you do not communicate with. Any true partnership starts and ends with clear and consistent communication.
Parents may be able to do many amazing things, but reading your mind is not one of them. A huge reason that parents are not allowing you to partner with them is the fact they have no idea what is actually going on.
You need parents to know and understand the vision God has given you for the ministry. You need parents to trust you. You need parents to help by serving in your ministry.
All of these begin with clear communication that happens often. Never assume just because you told the students, those students will actually tell their parents.
The easiest way to connect parents to your Youth Ministry is to communicate with them. There are tons of free ways to communicate with parents…the important thing is to be intentional to do so.
2. Recruit parents first!
No one has a greater interest and investment in your Youth Ministry than the parents. They live with the pressure of raising those students every day. So when it comes time to recruit leaders, recruit parents first (no offense college students)!
Those parents have a lifetime of experience. They have seen what life has waiting for your students once they graduate high school (and college).
Parents will me more committed than anyone else too. Best of all, parents who serve with, and support you, will talk with other parents.
So, when you set out to build your All-Star Team, recruit parents first. Having parents serve alongside you is one of the best ways to connect parents to your Youth Ministry.
3. Plan a Parents Retreat (just for parents)
Okay, so honestly this is my favorite way to connect parents to my ministry. Each spring we plan a Parents Retreat, just for parents…no students allowed. We do an overnight trip to the camp we take our students to in the summer. It is a great time for me to really get to know the parents in our ministry and hear first hand what they are struggling with.
I love, and parents benefit from, hearing parents share with each other their successes and failures. Listening to them pray for and encourage one another is so good. Parents see that they are not the only ones dealing with the things they are facing.
There are few greater privileges for me in my ministry than praying for our parents and families. Getting away, playing alongside, praying for, encouraging, and equipping parents through our parents retreat may be THE most effective way to connect parents to our Youth Ministry.
4. Form a Parent Prayer Team
How would it help your ministry if you knew that everyday there was a parent praying for YOU?
At our Fall Parent meeting I put out a Prayer Calendar and ask parents to sign up to pray for me one day a month. I then take those parents and put them in a separate mailing list that I email each month with specific things they can pray for.
A parent that prays for you is a parent that supports you. Asking parents to join in praying for you is a great way to connect parents to your ministry.
5. Create a Parent Leadership Team
If you are really serious about partnering with parents, you must allow parents a voice into your ministry. Our Parent Leadership Team acts as an advisory board for me, and meets a few times a year.
I intentionally look for parents who will give me honest feedback and critique. I also look for parents that I know believe in what we are doing and are supportive.
This team of parents are my biggest supporters, encouragers, and recruiters. If you are serious about connecting parents to your ministry, I would strongly encourage you to create a Parent Leadership Team.
Whether you use these five ways to connect parents to your ministry or not, the important thing really is to intentionally create opportunities to connect them.
Our tendency is to sit around and complain about parents not connecting rather than to make ways for them to connect. Do not say, “our parents will not connect.” The reality is we just have not led them to yet.
Our ministries are producing exactly what they are designed to produce. If you do not like your product, it may be time to change your design.
What ways are you are attempting to connect parents to your Youth Ministry? Are there any of these you have not tried, but may try? I would love to hear and help you get them started. Leave a comment below and let me know!
Photo credit: williac / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)