Hey, Youth Ministry Nation!
Below are some questions we recently asked our Youth Ministry Text Alert subscribers along with the answers we received. We hope you find it helpful to hear what your fellow youth workers are doing in their ministries!
Want to join the conversation? Have a question you’d like to ask other youth workers?
Text YOUTHMINISTRY to 40650.
Q: How do you connect and/or communicate with parents?
- Email, Facebook group, Simply Text, and high fives.
- Monthly email and Facebook for more current updates and group text
- Text service, email, verbal conversation and church publications
- Mailchimp, Facebook and Twitter
- Generally through a Facebook message thread that I update weekly. Also have a parent meeting every four months.
- I offer parenting workshops to connect with them. To communicate with them: Facebook, text, email and face to face.
- Monthly email, text alerts for communication then at youth events before and after talking…at school events being intentional to sit by them and talk with them
- Email every week and make a point to talk with them casually when the opportunity arises. Am planning to start sending a video every week with parenting tips.
- Face to face is best! However, there are a lot of ways- texting, emailing, calling. Don’t be afraid of small talk, and asking questions about their kids, that will win you favor! We need to earn their trust.
- I text, I call, I visit at home and go to their kids events. I ask them their dreams for their children and what they have liked and not liked about church and youth events. I let them know that we are partners but they are the experts. And I want to learn from them. However, I also share tips as I learn things with them.
- Connecting with them at events, when they pick their kids up from youth group or church, calling them when needing too.
- In person, By phone, Text, email, Facebook, Remind, Yearly parents mtg, Using the Sunday School hour, Serving together
- I use Facebook (created a private group), and the Remind App, and Google calendars.
- We had a recap session with parents when our group arrived home from our fall retreat. We touched base with each family member there individually then we talked briefly about the retreat in order to give parents a glimpse of what went on, learned, etc. in hopes it would promote discussion with their teens. (Idea borrowed from The Volunteer’s Back Pocket Guide to Events and Retreats.) We’re gathering again in December after the teens play laser tag and having a teen/parent “family dinner”- a casual evening for just spending time together and deepening relationships.
- Emails of regular activities and special events and things. Also have a parent team to help “run” student ministry and they are liaisons to spread the word with their circles of influence as well.
- Head – newsletter & information on upcoming series. This includes some questions to ask their students after & during each series.
Heart – prayer. We have a group of parents that help organize prayer teams for students.
Hands – we invite parents to serve along with students in the community. Our program GEARED (youth ministry outreach) is designed to offer students & parents an opportunity to serve together, creating an experience they will share.
- Facebook for most, email for some who don’t do Facebook, text when at a youth event
- Mostly email – BUT I just signed up for Simply Text!
- I think it helps that I am a parent of teenagers. I work with the high school age and can relate to all of the things that the parents are going through
- I connect with parents through the relationships I have with my students. They are my bridge to ministering to them as their child Student Pastor. Especially being that my students are unchurched and come to Wednesday service and neither them nor their parents attend Sunday services.
Here are some helpful resources about connecting with parents from Group’s Youth Ministry team:
- The Skinny on Parents
- “Communicate with Parents, Don’t Spam Them” blog post
- “See Parents Through New Eyes” blog post
Q: What’s your process for training volunteers?
- Just take them to Simply Youth Ministry Conference! We also meet monthly and do a training discussion, use resources to email out and look for local training events to go as a team
- Mentoring. On the job training. Baptism by fire.
- 1 hour PowerPoint presentation/hands on in order to volunteer
- It’s basically “discipling” with some teaching and info about teens. If we build relationships with them, then they can build relationships with teens. Somewhat modeling what they need to do.
- Once a month debrief, planning, and training. About a half hour long after our midweek service. Once a year major training whether it’s a retreat or Simply Youth Ministry Conference
- We offer leader training monthly & have a nationally known speaker once a year come.
- Eventually Leaders. Have really been looking for new, better strategies lately though.
- Kind of on the fly really. Start new volunteers doing games and just being involved with less responsibilities. Then group helper
- Monthly leader “parties” on Sunday mornings (free childcare). Breakfast to celebrate wins, coffee, conversational training
- Take them to conferences
- PRAY!!!! My Training Includes:
– Help I’m A Student Leader
– Help I’m a Volunteer Leader
– gospeladvancing.com diagnostic
– 4 Chairs
- Honestly, I need to work in this area…what I do try to do is to watch them and then name the gifts I see in them. So often volunteers are surprised. Then I challenge them to use those gifts, giving them room to both succeed and fail. But speaking the truth of their value all the while.
- Our YM team is comprised of all volunteers who work full time jobs and have families in addition to serving. We’re currently using Group’s Youth Leader Training on the Go as a means of monthly sessions. From the responses, it seems to encourage them. We’re trying to gear up to have times where we’d be able to gather as a group for training. Our outside resources are somewhat limited because we live in a rural area, so if anyone has suggestions for this, that’d be great. A portion of our team was able to attend Simply Youth Ministry Conference this year after a few years absence. It was well worth it once again!
Here are some helpful resources about training volunteers from Group’s Youth Ministry team:
- Blog post about how Tim & Tasha Levert train their leaders
- 99 Thoughts on Leading Volunteers
- The Skinny on Volunteers
- A Youth Ministry Volunteer Speaks His Mind
Q: What has been the most effective outreach strategy for your ministry?
- When we do an outing and encourage them to bring one friend and they don’t have to pay. When we also keep parents informed by text, email and flyers in weekly bulletins.
- The deadly lock-in 🙂
- Taking our bus directly into the community and having the kids bring new friends each week!
- We have had great success with our “5th Quarters” following home football games
- Relationships- providing a safe, fun environment for the teens to come play and be themselves! And of course be loved on by awesome youth leaders!!
- Personal. Students inviting students to join them with small groups. And twitter, Instagram videos
- Training and equipping our students to reach their friends, families and neighbors with the Gospel…we do have some outreach events that we utilize to have students bring their friends but that is so we can help facilitate a conversation that they can have with their friends
- Bringing the message to the kids, instead of relying on them to come to me.
- Come alongside youth, model outreach, share personal experiences, and provide outreach opportunities!
- Make relationships
- Word of mouth and small yg events that friends invite other friends to
- Easy answer: We create environments that students want to be in. When they feel welcomed and safe, they’ll invite their friends.
- Kids inviting kids who then tell their parents
- Community events
- I would say Community Events and special youth group activities…such as parties, sports tournaments…etc!
- Engaging students to invite their friends has been the best thing we have seen. However, I do a once a semester connect event to engage students whose excuse is that they don’t know anyone. This event is an opportunity for those that really do want to fresh start and to connect with other students to have the opportunity. This has been extremely successful for us.
- Coaching students to invite!
- Inspiring & equipping our students to have regular spiritual conversations with their friends as everyday missionaries
- Assessing our community’s needs. We have a large refugee population. When we began to reach out to that demographic there was more life within the outreach than we could sustain alone. Subsequently we have partnered with other organizations, universities and churches to achieve the same goal of bringing love in a variety of forms to those in need among us. It’s beautiful to witness God move mountains to help you love folks.
Hope it helps! Let us know your answers to these questions, or any other questions you want us to ask, in the comments below!
-Chelsea & the YM Team