So I was thinking the other day what are 3 easy principles that ANY youth minister could do to minister better to parents. What are 3 principles that would make any youth minister an all-star in the eyes of his/her ministries parents?
This is one principle that cannot be stressed enough. If you do not communicate well to parents then you are just making your own job harder on yourself. People forget things, chances are you do too. So if you fail to communicate when a dead line is, your not only going to have the ones who would forget no matter how you communicate but you've also added to the pile the ones that would have gotten it in on time. I tell our parents I will do everything I can to reach them at their preferred method of communication. I jokingly say I communicate by website, social media, email, snail mail, phone call, text service, face to face, walkie talkie, morse code, and smoke signals. I want to make sure I put the ball in the parent's court. I want to make sure that if they forgot something, it is not because I didn't communicate it.
I made a mistake recently, I know shocking right?!? I scheduled a fall retreat at the end of Fall Break. I violated a principle I live by, think of the family first. I did not check the temperature of our group, in my defense it's my first year at my current church. But there were quite a few families that take vacation during that time. I should have known better! Always plan your calendar with the family in mind. Don't schedule an event during the week of Christmas and expect everyone to attend! Your setting yourself up for frustration and the parents up to look like the bad guys when they tell their kids they can not go to that youth event. When you plan with families in mind, parents will see that you care about their family time.
Set a good example:
This one is a odd one, but set a good example. If parents and students see that you value your own family, then they may place more value on their own. I love it when my girls get to sit in on a youth event, now my girls are young so they can be a distraction so I pick and choose carefully. But I'm not above picking my daughter up and spinning her around like a ballerina in front of my students. I have no problem giving my wife an appropriate kiss (read APPROPRIATE) in front of my students. I want them to see how highly I hold my own family. When you communicate to your students parents that you value family then you cannot neglect your own. This can be hard if your a single youth pastor, but I challenge you with this. How much do you talk up your own parents? How much do you make your parents out to be hero's in your life? Now I understand this isn't always the case either. You may have had a bad childhood, but talk about the person you view as your parental figure. Even if the only thing you have is saying "When I turned to Christ. I finally figured out how much a true Father loves his kids." Place a great value on the family dynamic.
Just a few small easy things you can do to set your parents up to win. Until next time! Just Keep Swimming!