This week we have asked 3 on the ground youth ministry practitioners for their advice and wisdom on how they engage parents in their student ministries and churches.

“This can be tricky because I have parents who are active in the life of the church and parents whom I may have barely met but whose kids are here regularly. Regardless, any time I notice a kid have a lightbulb moment or ask a particularly curious question or even offer up something thoughtful in discussion I go to my google form, pull mom or dad’s phone number and shoot them a text to let them know what value their kid added to our discussion that night. I usually try to also add some other kind of compliment or gift I see (she’s also got a great sense of humor; he moved so a visitor could I have his seat). I don’t always offer a direct quote from the kid, but rather say something like “You should ask them about our study and what they said!” In that way my hope is to spark conversation at home.”

-Rev. Samantha Hassell, Dyersburg Cumberland Presbyterian Church

“We always send Parent Packets ahead of any weekend or week-long trips. Included in the packet is a lot of the logistics for the trip and a packing list, but we also always include some information about the theme and some questions for parents to help their youth continue to process and reflect on the trip when they get home. Our hope is that parents are equipped to initiate a conversation that helps deepen faith and doesn’t stay on the surface level of the fun or drama from the trip.”

Diane Maloney, Falls Church Presbyterian Church

“A way that has continually been an indicator of faith influences in a student’s life is to further the parent’s faith and serving. When the parents focus on faith development and serving themselves, we see the students grow stronger in their faith and desire to serve. Think like the flight attendant says “Take care of yourself first before assisting others.” It doesn’t make sense to place importance on something that you aren’t prioritizing in your own life.”

Kate Orr, Brentwood United Methodist Church

What are some ways that you engage the parents in your ministry?