by Brian Eno/ April 17, 2019
As a young pastor I was intimidated by parents. I avoided them, didn’t want them on my volunteer team or in my services, and was always nervous when they called. As I grew older and matured in ministry I discovered the importance of connecting with parents, gaining their support, and having them on my volunteer team.
It is easy to overlook parents, but this is a huge mistake. We need them, and they need us. So here are five ways I have found over two decades of youth and kids ministry to help you better connect with parents.
When I served as NextGen pastor I would communicate with all my parents by sending a monthly newsletter. At first it was printed, folded and sent snail mail; later we sent it via email. Today I might use a social media platform. A newsletter is a parent touchpoint, a simple way to keep the happenings of your ministry in front of them. No news is not good news, it’s just no news.
Talk with them face to face. This can happen formally over coffee or informally on the church parking lot. Brag on their kids. Let them know what you see God is doing in their young lives. Don’t avoid the difficult parents. Sometimes a simple conversation with a difficult parent can end up being a big win. Talking with parents takes time, energy, and intentionality, but the fruit is priceless.
Parenting is hard today. They need our prayers. It doesn’t matter your age, life experience, or ministry experience—parents need help. Notice I said, “pray WITH them.” Yes, pray FOR them too, but pray with them. Create the habit of always including, in every conversation the question: How can I pray for you? Then take a moment to pray together.
Create a private social media group for parents to share and pray with other parents. Offer a parenting class. Provide childcare for a parent night out. Write a parenting blog. Give away helpful books. Hold a semiannual parents informational lunch following a Sunday morning service. Ask them what they need. The possibilities for resourcing are endless.
Parents need a place to serve in the church and we need volunteers in children’s ministries. Ask them to serve, to help, to join your team. Parents have a vested interest in your ministry, so capitalize on this opportunity.
Ministering to parents is part of your ministry as kids and youth pastors. So, I encourage you do whatever you can to better connect with parents. Remember you need them, and they need you.