Have you ever been sitting with a bunch of youth ministers and heard them discussing “ministry to parent’s in the youth group?” Have you ever felt a burden to minister to parents, but also felt like parent ministry is a huge “beast” to take on? Parent ministry is not some huge program, activity, or skill that only a few certain “perfect” youth ministers possess.
Parent ministry starts off with a goal. To be successful in any part of youth ministry, the minister must have a goal. Have you ever done and event….say a lock-in….and you realized afterwards there was no real purpose in it? In every activity done, a youth minister must first sit down and decide what role the parents must have in the youth ministry and how to go about that.
The first part of a parent ministry is that the minister must communicate. Parents desire communication from youth ministers, and sometimes the only stuff we communicate (events, dates, bible studies) is to students. The problem is students for the most part lack communication with parents. So why do we ever think students will communicate what is going on in the youth ministry to parents? Communication with parents is not that challenging when you sit down and think about how to go about it. Communication happens when youth ministers send parent’s newsletters, e-mail updates, have an informative website, or simply make a priority to go to parents in person to communicate what is happening with the youth.
Another great way to minister to parents is through encouragement. Many times the parents that I serve are only told how they are parenting wrong, but if youth ministers want to be successful in parent ministry, they must be an encourager. Parents want to know they are doing a good job with their students, and they also want to be encouraged when their child does something good. A great way to encourage is to highlight what a student says or does in a Bible study or at school, praise a parent for something he or she has done, or simply write an encouraging note.
Relationships are a necessity in parent ministry. Parents want to feel comfortable around the youth minister, and because of this, youth ministers must go out and meet parents where they are at. Parents typically do not flock to youth ministers. Because of this, parents will feel more open to talking about issues with the youth minister if a relationship is formed. Relationships are formed when you sit with a parent at a game, or talk to them in the parking lot after a youth event, or simply go visit with the parent at their house.
A final way to start a parent ministry is to be a resource. Youth ministers do not have to be the walking encyclopedia of teenage culture and issues, but they must be a resource where parents can find that information. Parents have the task of raising children, but yet, many of them lack the skills. A great way to minister to parents is to have informative seminars for parents, have articles available on teenager culture and issues for parents, or simply be open to hear concerns and research answers to those concerns for parents.
Parent ministry in perspective is not too difficult. It simply takes time, and if you look closely, a good majority of ministers are already doing it. There is no formula on how to do parent ministry in any youth ministry. Youth ministers are called to serve, love, and help in the spiritual growth of students. If youth ministers do not help and equip parents, then the task God has called us to is not being fulfilled. Parent ministry must change from that huge “beast” to an active part of youth ministry.