I’ve made a ton of mistakes in my first few years of youth ministry. I’ve totaled church buses and run over cats with the church van. I’ve gone over budget and overhyped an event. I’ve left kids at gas stations and left leadership out of the loop as I did my own thing.
But one other, more subtle, mistake I made was not partnering with parents. I didn’t even try! I thought youth ministry was the “be all, end all” of spiritual discipleship for teenagers and decided to ignore these whining, argumentative, frustrating people. Why won’t they leave me alone and just let me disciple their children?
How stupid is that? So I’ve been a bonehead in youth ministry more times than I can imagine (and still am from time to time, argh), but partnering with parents is a mistake as a seasoned veteran I’m not going to make anymore. Here are five words that I want to describe our partnership with parents as a youth ministry.
This is the most basic function of a youth ministry’s relationship to parents. Keep them in the loop. Let them know what is planned and give overwhelming clarity and communication. This means that your email lists, text database and interpersonal skills have to be sharp. The DYM Parent Newsletter as part of the monthly membership might be a helpful tool as you do this. And remember that communication at the lowest level is AT parents, ideally it moves to a conversation.
So, this week, we’ll both make some mistakes in our youth ministry. But be sure to not make the mistake of missing out on encouraging and partnering with the parents of the students in your ministry.