Parents. You can’t avoid the fact that they exist. You went into youth ministry because you wanted to change the lives of teenagers, but you’ve been handed more than you expected. The younger, less experienced version of yourself probably didn’t realize that loving teenagers also meant loving parents.
The younger, less experienced version of yourself probably didn’t realize that loving teenagers also meant loving parents.Tweet
For many teens their parents are the number one way they will get to your ministry, and this is precisely how we treat them. Far too often, we treat parents as little more than Uber drivers.
You are right. Parents do play the role of being a driver for their children. However, parents also play the role of decision-maker. They will decide whether or not their child can participate in your youth ministry. Losing the confidence of your parents is the quickest way to empty the chairs in your youth ministry.
Three ways to gain or keep parent confidence.
VALUE THEIR TIME. Parents are busy. Teenagers are busy. You are busy. There is no sign of time slowing down!
When you have an event, practice, meeting, or other activity, it is important to start and end on time. Parents who wait in the car for fifteen minutes after the time you were supposed to end, are parents who feel cheated out of their precious time. No one likes to feel cheated – this also includes cheated of time.
Parents who wait in the car for fifteen minutes after the time you were supposed to end, are parents who feel cheated out of their precious time. No one likes to feel cheated – this also includes cheated of time.Tweet
COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE. Communication comes in a variety of forms- use all of them!
Create a printable student ministry handbook, and calendar. These are easy wins to hand or mail to the parents of new students. Give parents these two things, and you instantly communicate confidence and preparedness. Exactly what parents hope to see in the people who will take care of their children.
Text. Phone calls. Letters. Handwritten notes. Social Media. Over-communicate everything. Parents will love you. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have had to check and recheck info for my daughters’ activities.
LISTEN. Parents often feel unheard. They send their children to school, clubs, and activities with very little control over how or who runs the programs.
I am not suggesting that you let every parent dictate how you run the youth ministry. I am saying that you sit down and actively listen. A parent seems upset, listen to them. A parent is celebrating, listen to them. You are standing beside them at a fundraiser, ask about their life. Ask about their child’s experience.
Give parents as many opportunities to share. By providing these opportunities, you are making them feel valued, heard, and loved. They will feel gratitude for you and your ministry. In a world that often dictates how they raise their children, your listening ear will be a refreshing experience.
Parents want to believe in your youth ministry. Parents want partners. Work hard to gain the confidence of parents, and your ministry will grow. Work hard to gain the trust of parents, and parents will encounter the love of Christ. Parents matter. So let us act as they matter.