The death and resurrection of Jesus was and is for every student and every parent. During Holy Week, we remind our students that Jesus was a living sacrifice with a vision and a plan for each of us. To be loved and to love. To be known and to know. Because of his great love, we are free. We are alive in Christ. Isn’t the gospel that simple?
But hold on! What if the gospel, what if Easter, isn’t that simple for everyone? What if living out the gospel is difficult for some of our students’ parents?
This Holy Week, let’s think about how we support parents who feel spiritually ill-equipped and inadequate. We can encourage these parents. God’s grace and mercy is enough. Parents don’t have to be perfect to be spiritual leaders and influencers. And they don’t have to be Bible scholars to live out the gospel.
The truth is, we are all inadequate. I’ve heard it said, God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. Few parents are vulnerable enough to admit that the fear of Biblical illiteracy keeps them from having spiritual conversations with their kids. These parents depend on our spiritual leadership to guide their students while they take a back seat. But students need parents to take the front seat. Parents take a spiritual back seat because they lack confidence in their own relationship with God. We know that God has a track record of loving and working through imperfect people and will love and guide parents and their teens through his Holy Spirit.
How can we partner with the work of the Holy Spirit? What can we do to help parents move from the back seat to the front seat?
It’s critical that we engage with students’ parents beyond drop-off and pick-up. They have a much more important role to play than taxi driver. By engaging with parents, we become partners in ministry. We can see their spiritual needs and offer support and encouragement. We must invest in parent relationships.
Encouraging parents is as important to us as communicating with them. Parents need to know their role is way more significant and influential than the role we play. When was the last time you had the opportunity to tell a parent they were doing a good job? When was the last time you had the opportunity to tell a parent their student loves them? Parents need to know that they are not alone. They need to know that we’re backing them up. Even if it means calling us at 2:00 in the morning for support.
My sons’ baseball coach made it clear that he needs baseball parents who will practice with their kids during the week in order for players to advance. They are with us way more than they are with him. I’m not a baseball player, so it’s important that the coach not only coach my student but that he coaches me and gives me the tools and information I need to be part of my sons’ growth. Our youth parents need the same kind of support so that they can play a critical role in their students spiritual formation.
This Holy Week and beyond we can inspire parents to be involved in the spiritual growth of their students by engaging, encouraging, and equipping. Engage parents through relationships, encourage them with words of life, and equip them by providing biblical training, spiritual support, and parent small groups.
The death and resurrection of Jesus was and is for everyone, every student and every parent. Thank you for loving students and the parents that are leading them.