OK, we get it, we are supposed to connect, engage and release parents to be the primary disciplers of their teenagers. I do not think many youth pastors would argue with the fact that this is part of our job description as youth pastors. The question is how? How do we go about becoming a family ministry. Obviously, emails, texts and interaction works. I have found that parent meetings are effective. When I first started in youth ministry, every parent meeting that I had was strictly informative. They were short, and basically regarding youth events, nothing more. Now, I am finding that those meetings were ineffective. Now, I am seeking to have effective parent meetings, but you have to plan for it to be effective. Here are a few tips on planning a parent meeting:
Have a Plan—Make sure that the meeting is well put together and well-organized. Parents want a reason to come, and if the meeting is not organized, they will not want to return to your next one.
Challenge Them—We need to challenge our parents like we challenge our students. Pray and ask God for direction on what your parents need the most at each meeting.
Provide Information—Information is needed. You should not just throw it out. Parents want information. Be organized. Give hand outs, have PowerPoint and think ahead of time of all questions that parents may have so that you can answer them before they are asked at the meeting.
Share Resources—This is a newer concept, but share resources. Share resources about youth culture, parenting tips and resources for them to be a more effective parent. Whatever you are reading (you better be reading) on parenting and youth culture needs to be shared with them. Also, share how they can monitor their students’ devices, etc.
Have Food—Parents love food, and so do youth workers. Everyone loves food. Provide food if possible, or get the parents to bring food like a pot luck style. Food makes people talk easier, and it makes things more casual.
Provide Childcare for Kids and Teens—I always do this so there is no reason parents can come up with for not being there.
Ask Youth Leaders to Attend—We ask all youth leaders to attend these meetings, and for them to sit with the parents of the students in their small group. This provides interaction, and it connects the parents and youth leaders with one another so deeper ministry can take place.
Always Ask for Feedback and Have Q&A—Ask for feedback from the parents on what they think of the student ministry, and how it can be better. Also, have Q&A after the meeting for practical parenting questions, or questions about the ministry and its events. Many times, other parents can answer some questions through personal experience, and it becomes a great time of interaction between the parents.
These are just a few tips. What tips would you add to the list?