Are you really taking advantage of your Parent Meetings?
In previous posts we have looked at partnering with parents in your Youth Ministry, as well as important helps when it comes to communicating with parents in your ministry. Both of these topics go hand in hand. You cannot effectively partner with parents if you fail to communicate clearly with them.
There are many ways to go about communicating clearly to parents (or at least trying), but few will be as helpful as your Parent Meeting. There are several things every parent meeting should have.
Here are 10 things your parent meeting MUST have:
1. Share your overall vision for the ministry
If you have no vision, you have no ministry. Consistently sharing the vision of your Youth Ministry is by far one of the most important things you can do. Parents especially, must know where you are heading, and why you do what you do. Repetition builds confidence as well. The more often people hear you share your vision, the more they will trust you and your ministry. If you do not take time to do this one thing…you might as well not have the parent meeting.
2. Give important dates and deadlines for major events for the year
Parents and families need time to plan. They need to plan both in regards to their family calendar and their family finances. The sooner you can give these to them the better.
We include DNOW, Retreats, Mission Trips, and Camp at a minimum. We make sure to give the date of the event, how much the event is, and all deadlines pertaining to it.
You never want to put a parent in the position to be the bad guy and having to say no. Letting them know all of this in advance at your parent meeting helps prevent that.
3. Gather contact information and tell them how to stay informed
You need to know how to contact them and they need to know how you will be communicating. The clearer you can be at your parent meeting on this, the better off your ministry will be. It will also GREATLY reduce your frustration throughout the year.
4. Build a parent prayer team
How different would you approach your ministry if you knew everyday you had parents intentionally praying for you?
I use a generic calendar with 31 days. Parents then sign up to pray for me at the parent meeting on a certain day of the month. I take those parents and put them on a separate email distribution list so I can email them throughout the year with specific prayer needs. A parent in your ministry who prays for you is a parent that supports you.
5. Recruit parents to help and serve in your ministry
You cannot do it alone. The parents in your ministry can be the greatest team members you have. They are looking for ways to be involved in their kids lives. Allowing them places to serve, helps you, and it provides on ramps for them to be involved in your ministry. Recruiting parents to help and serve in your ministry will strengthen your ability to partner with them. Doing this when you have a captive and concentrated audience of parents at the parent meeting is a prime time for you to do this. Parents should not just be welcome in your ministry, they should be wanted.
6. Encourage parents
Parents need encouragement. Parenting is tough work. No parent really knows what they are doing. We just make it up as we go and hope we do not screw it all up in the end. Every mistake your children make, you take as a personal failure. The parents in your ministry will appreciate your encouragement more than you will ever know. Do not tell them how they are failing…tell them how they are succeeding.
7. Tell them how to save money
Although they would likely never admit it, most parents are probably motivated to come to my parent meeting for this one reason. Who does not want to save money? You know how expensive Youth Ministry is. They feel it.
I always find a way to help them save money. I do this for their benefit first and foremost. I do it to motivate them to come to the parent meeting, and I do it to encourage early sign ups for events.
I usually give a small price break for the first several to sign up for a major event or trip. This helps me tremendously. Once students start signing up, others will begin to do so as well. Giving a small price break helps them and you.
8. Give them tools to help them be better equipped to parent
Every parent feels under qualified to and over their head a bit when it comes to parenting. In today’s culture this can be magnified with the pace and ever-changing pace of technology. Always look for ways to help them be better equipped to parent and to disciple their kids. These can be websites they may find useful, books, trainings…there really is no limit to how you can help with this.
9. Pray for parents and students
I feel like this is a no brainer, but many times we can get so caught up in the details of the parent meeting that we actually forget to stop and intentionally pray for the parents and students in our ministry. This does not have to be a long time of prayer. It only needs to be an intentional one. You will encourage your parents (see number 6) by praying for them too.
10. Answer any questions
Make sure you leave time for questions and give them a way to ask questions they may have in the future. It will do you no good to throw a ton of information and details at parents if you do not give them a time to ask questions so they can fully understand. If you fail to do this, you may very well leave feeling like you have communicated a lot, but in reality…you just talked a lot, and no real communication has occurred.
So there you have it. Ten things I think you must have in your Parent Meeting. Which one of these have you not been doing that you will add to future meetings? What would you add to my list? Leave a comment and let me know! If you have found this post helpful, share it so others can read it also.
Photo credit: benwatts / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)