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How Friendly is Your Youth Ministry to Parents?

Last week, we had our second annual FAM Conference. It was a great event and there was a lot of talk about how ministries can become more family friendly. Here’s a few notes I took from conversations. I’ll share more later this week.

Life is busy in the home! Teenagers have a lot going on in their lives and parents have an incredible task attempting to balance all the different demands on their time. Make the commitment to help your families, and clearly communicate with your parents. Make it a goal to try to over communicate. Let them know about upcoming events (which doesn’t mean the week of the event), content that you’ll be teaching on, ministry successes, changes, costs, activities, etc. Your communication doesn’t have to be long, but it should be consistent and clear and speak to the parents’ world. Learning how to plan well will make this much easier.

We’re on the “same side” with parents, so make sure to take every opportunity to speak highly of them when you’re around teenagers. Resist the urge to join in when a teenager is verbally bashing his or her parents. Rookie youth workers may try to “build a bridge” with a teenager by trashing parents (i.e. “parents just don’t understand”) … but it doesn’t work long term. Keep your integrity and speak highly of parents.

Affirmation is a great gift to a parent! Each time you see a parent, try to pass on some kind of verbal encouragement about his or her son or daughter. Parents love to hear great things about their kids, and when it comes from someone who knows them and really cares about them, the affirmation is even more powerful. Returning home from camp this summer is a great opportunity to brag to parents about their kids and set a positive tone for post-camp family conversations. There are few things more rewarding to parents than hearing good words about their kids. This is a powerful gift that doesn’t cost you anything.

More ideas coming later this week.

When it comes to being family friendly, what are your intentional actions?  

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Doug Fields has been in youth ministry since 1979 and former pastor to students at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He's the author of 50+ books, including the best-selling Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry & Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry. He's also the founder of Simply Youth Ministry, an instructor at Azusa Pacific University/HomeWord, and on the leadership team with Youth Specialties. You can connect with Doug through his blog at www.downloadyouthministry.com! More from Doug Fields or visit/subscribe to Doug's blog at www.dougfields.com