As I talk with other student pastors, I find that one of the most frustrating things in student ministry is leading a successful parent meeting.
The reasons that this is difficult and frustrating are varied.
- Parents do not attend the meetings.
- Parents seem to be bored when they attend.
- I cannot seem to engage parents with small group leaders.
- What do I do at a parent meeting?
Because of these reasons, many student pastors never really connect with many parents in their student ministry because of their struggle in hosting effective parent meetings.
Here is what we must remember: Parent meetings are crucial and a “must.” You have to do them if you intend to have a successful student ministry, because a lot of the information you give to students will never get to the parents unless you share it with them, right?
So, how can we have effective parent meetings?
1. Engage the Parents
One thing that has worked very well for me is engaging the parents. For example, if you engage the parents, they are more likely to attend your meeting.
If they have a responsibility at your meeting then they likely will not cancel last-minute.
So, I engage parents with an RSVP and I also ask for them to bring something to the meeting. This eliminates the large number of last-minute cancellations. The reason is if a parent is bringing drinks, they more likely will come than if they had no responsibility.
2. Provide FREE Childcare
Many of the parents of your students have younger children, and it is imperative that you handle childcare.
I made a decision years ago that finding a babysitter was never going to be a reason parents do not attend my meetings.
So I pay some of my teenage girls to watch the smaller children at all meetings.
3. Serve Them a Meal
I always include food. It just helps. There really isn’t a good explanation. I just have found that most meetings that have food are better attended than meetings without food.
4. Host the Meeting at a Time They Are Already There
I was frustrated early in my years of ministry because I was hosting parent meetings at the worst times. My attendance was proof of that.
So I decided that I would do meetings at a time when parents are already on site, which is Sunday. So, I started doing meetings Sunday morning right after church for lunch.
Our church dismissed at noon, and I would host the meeting in the fellowship hall, and they would be dismissed by 1:30 p.m.
I went from having like 35 percent of my parents there to having like 80 percent of my parents there.
5. Be Intentional About Connecting Your Small Group Leaders With Parents
I had assigned seating. I would ask parents to sit with the small group leaders of their students. This gave them a little over an hour to connect and build stronger relationships with one another. This only expands your reach and creates deeper influence.
6. Resource Them
I always included a segment during the meeting where I resourced parents regarding something practical that they likely are facing.
This might be an app review, a book that may help parents, a story of a parent who overcame something that was overwhelming with their student, or some helpful blogs or articles that may help them parent more effectively.
Parents have questions, and this is the perfect time to speak directly to the questions that they have.
7. Share Information
Notice that this is the last one on the list. It is important, crucial, but definitely not the most important in my opinion.
We hosted a parent meeting each quarter so we only had a few each year. So, at this meeting, I would include all activities and a calendar of events for the next few months. I would also include what we are learning in our student ministry.
Do not make this segment of your meeting lengthy. Give them the information that they need and dismiss them.
This article originally appeared here.