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How Do You Build Trust Between Students and Parents?

If trust is a key component to healthy relationships, then it begs the question, “How do we build trust between our youth ministries and the parents of our students?” The list could get long…and obviously we won’t all be good at all of the stuff on the list, but I tend to think the area of trust is an area that fits into the classic “chips in your pocket” analogy.

Every time you do something that builds trust with parents, you get some chips in your pocket. And, every time you do something that breaks trust, you lose chips. And…some trust builders and breakers add or delete bigger amounts of chips.

For instance, coming home from camp at the time you announced on the registration form puts a couple of chips in your pocket. But, failing to do a proper background check on a convicted felon who ends up robbing your 7th grade girls small group at gun-point takes FAR MORE chips out of your pocket!

So, in my way of thinking, you always want to make sure your “pocket of trust” is full of chips. Okay….but how. Well, let’s start a list. I’ll get us going:

– Longevity: The longer you are at a church, the more trust is built.
– Clear communication: clear, consistent communication about events, etc.
– Willingness to listen to complaints: Most parents just want to be heard.
– Admitting when you are wrong: Admission of mistakes builds trust.

Okay….there are a few to get us started, please add some ways you have been able to build trust between your ministry and parents.

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kurtjohnston@churchleaders.com'
Kurt Johnston has been involved in junior high ministry since 1988 and is currently the junior high pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He's the author of Controlled Chaos: Making Sense of Junior High Ministry and Go Team! He loves providing resources for junior high ministry almost as much as he loves junior highers themselves.