What an awesome conference! And how do you close out a awesome experience like this? With a great workshop with Jeremy Lee from ParentMinistry.net. I've been checking out this site and they are legit!
Background before I get started, when I started at the church I am currently serving, God laid it on my heart that there had to be something I could do to assist our parents in fulfilling their commitment in Deuteronomy 6. We have done various things to resource our parents, one of which can be seen here on a guest post I made on More Than Dodge Ball.
But I also have a great appreciation of Rites of Passage. The church I grew up in, when I was baptized, after I was brought out of the water. You toweled off your face and while still in the water, my parents gave me my first communion and prayed a blessing over me. This is a vivid memory of mine and is something that meant a lot to me. So I know the power that Rites of Passage moments can have. But enough of me plugging that, I will have WAY more on that in the future.
So what are ten ideas to bless and not curse your ministry parents?
10: Give them your attention!
-Let the students and volunteers in your ministry share the stage with parents.
-If parents, according to Deuteronomy 6, are the primary discipler of their children then:
-They can't be ignored, we aren't loving students well if we don't don't seek to influence those who influence them the most!
-They can't be leftovers! What would change if we moved from offering parents our scraps to giving them a seat at the table of our main course?
-They need to be in the spot light.
-They need our attention! So much of parents ministry is just simply noticing the family dynamics in your ministry!
-The first step you can take to bless parents is to intentionally notice them!
-Gather information from your students on who comes from a home with spiritual support and who does not.
1: Are you a Christian?
2: Do your parents go to church here or some where else?
3: Are you parents Christians?
Note: I would also add, with my group anyway, do you and your parents discuss spiritual things at home?
-Fear does not motivate parents use kind, gentle, affirming tones.
9: Give the parents in your ministry an encourager not an expert.
-You got into this ministry position to encourage the discouraged. This is true for both students and their parents.
-Your default setting when you start a conversation with a parent should be to start with a genuine compliment of their teenager. You don't have to lie, but do the best you can to give them insight into their teen.
-There is power to listening and offering prayer.
-Your office should be the safest place outside their living room where they can come and vent.
8: Create a safe environment.
-Earn the trust of the parents you serve by creating an environment that is trustworthy!
-Have a church nursery perspective. Put patents at ease that its safe.
-Keep your environment clean and organized.
-Make sure you are free from responsibility during pick up, drop off, and event registration to be available to parents.
-Use licensed and bonded bus drivers. Bring security volunteers.
-Make decisions as if you were sitting in court ready to testify.
-Use diligence to create a trust worthy environment.
-Explain CLEARLY the steps you will take to take care of those students.
7: Provide guests with great information.
-Make it EXTREMELY easy for a new family to engage your student ministry, with clear promotional material.
-Have a parent of a teen who is not a member of your church check out the website and bring their student to church. Get their feedback.
-website content should be gear to parents NOT teens. Teens do not engage your website, they engage via social media.
-Parents will visit contact page and staff page first. Make sure contact info is good, up to date and clear. Make sure staff bios lend to their credibility. Saying "Uh my favorite movie is Ironman" does not lend to credibility but "Pastor Kevin has been doing youth ministry for 5 years. He has a youth ministry certificate from YouthSphere.com and has a clear calling from God to equip teenagers to be better followers of Christ." does lend to credibility.
6: Open lines of communication.
-Do your part to begin ongoing conversations with the parents you serve.
-Send emails regularly (Jeremy said once a week. For me that might be excessive since I have great face to face time usually once every sunday) to a parent. It's better to give them a hand written note.
-write emails for skimming not reading. Most people just skim emails. Bullet points with links to more info are effective. Keep subject line to 27 characters or less. Most email services cut off at 27.
I'll be back later this week with the rest!
Just Keep Swimming!