Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from Jim Hancock’s presentation at the CYMT Summit—Equipping Parents for Spiritual Leadership in May 2012. Jim is the author of numerous youth ministry books and resources including Raising Adults.
For most youth ministers, the idea of collaborating with parents is a good idea…well, it’s a nice idea, but there are sometimes problems with the implementation. The obvious solution for collaborating with parents is to create a youth committee. But what would it be like if parents believed we were partners?
Here are seven ways that we can work with parents and parents can work with youthworkers:
#1 Reality Check
If something doesn’t seem right with a kid, check discreetly with his parents. Likewise, when you catch a teenager in the act of doing something right, don’t keep it to yourself!
#2 Early Warning
Be aware and help make parents aware of teenage issues and concerns in the community. Bullying, teen pregnancy, eating disorders, a teen suicide, alcohol, and drug usage are issues that parents and youth ministers should work on together.
Need help getting into the school, getting to know local officials like the juvenile judge or police officers, getting to know coaches or teachers? Parents can help you network by introducing you to people you need to know.
Parents can interpret what you are doing to your bosses and other parents. Not only can they, they will. Parents can help you get the support you need both inside and outside the church.
#5 Inn Keepers
Sooner or later you’re going to need temporary shelter for a person in crisis. Your relationships with parents will make this possible.
#6 Crap Detectors
Describe your plans to trusted parents. Ask them, “What am I missing?” Take good notes, because if you can’t convince them, think again.
We can teach or remind parents about what happens in the adolescent life stage. Parents can teach us what it is like to unconditionally love another. Read this article on teaching parents (need link).
What are your hopes and fears about engaging parents? How are you collaborating with parents? Have you developed ministry with parents?
As you continue to explore ministry with parents, we think that working through our Parenting Ministry Training Module would be helpful to you and your ministry.