A few weeks ago I did a post about a few things that we, as student pastors, can do to make our student ministries more “parent friendly.” To read that post, click here.
Today I want to do Part 2 of that post and add a few more things that we can do to get parents more “in tune” with what is going on in our ministries. Remember, parent buy-in is HUGE in student ministry.
5. Don’t Over-Schedule
One way to get parents pretty upset at you is to jam-pack your student ministry calendar with tons of events and programs and meetings. Students’ lives are busy. Parents are busy. When we over-schedule… we are making our students and parents fight over what they perceive to be more important. What I have found to be helpful is to schedule a few events on the calendar for students to “come to” and then have my team invest into the schedule that the student already has [games, plays, concerts, etc…]. Some of the best student ministry is found within the already existing schedule of the student and family.
6. Offer Training Opportunities for Parents of Teenagers
As I type this I am thinking, “Wait a minute, I am not a parent of teenagers… how can I train parents in an area that I have yet to step into?” That has been a valid argument over the past few years for me. [and I should preface all of this by saying… I don’t have a great track record when it comes to this. This is one of those things that I have decided will be a major focus of my next 10 years in student ministry because it has not been in the last 10]. So here is what I want to do with this: Just because I am not a parent of teenagers doesn’t mean I don’t have the resources or knowledge to bring someone in who can speak to this in a valid way. I have concluded that I can speak to certain things about teenagers because I work with them all the time… and where I can’t speak, I can find someone who can and offer them as a training opportunity. Parents need and want information on how to parent their teenagers. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could assist the family like this?
7. Suggest Reading Materials, Websites, etc…
We may not have the resources to bring in a “professional” to train parents… but we can cut and copy an article from a magazine that we thought was important. We can point parents to great websites about their teenagers. We can help educate them on what their teenagers are watching on TV, Listening to on their iPods, viewing on the internet, and texting to each other. In my experience, this goes a LONG WAY to bridge the parent/student pastor gap.
**I’m sure that there are a lot more ways to develop “parent friendly” student ministries… what are some that have worked for you?