A couple days ago someone asked a question about connecting with parents at MinistryQuestions.com. It reminded me of last summer when I had two open-house dinners at my house for parents in our youth group. Neither meeting was very large. In fact, there was even some overlap between the two dinners of parents who came both times. But the one-on-one time with parents without kids around was still very valuable.
After some time to hang out and eat together, we all sat in a circle and discussed some of these questions openly. However, looking back, I see the value in asking these three questions privately with every set of parents represented in the youth ministry on a consistent basis.
1. What’s going on in your family and your kid’s life right now that would help me and the youth leaders know how to best work with your student?
We’re here to partner with parents, but no partnership works very well if the partners are off doing different things without communicating with each other. Ask parents about what they see going in in their kid’s lives that would be helpful information for you and any other appropriate youth leaders to know. What stories are both you and the parents hearing about school? What indicators of spiritual growth do you and the parents see coming from their life? Listen to parents share stories, but be sure you also share with them stories and insights you’ve picked up through their involvement in the ministry.
2. How can the youth ministry support you and your family better?
After you’ve heard a bit about what’s happening in that kid’s life at home, ask parents how they feel the youth ministry can best come alongside and continue to support them. That’s doesn’t mean you should bow to their every request — sometimes their expectations will be unrealistic. Use those times to gently share why you can’t or shouldn’t meet those expectations while giving an alternate suggestion that’s more appropriate.
3. How are YOU doing spiritually right now?
We all know that the spirituality of the parents is often reflected in their students, except their kids don’t try to hide it as much. That’s why the spiritual health of the students is often dependant on the spiritual health of their parents. Kids reflect what they see modeled for them. Ensure that parents are growing spiritually and that it’s overflowing into their family, their children, their teenagers, and their marriages.
Posted on March 3, 2009