The other day, Doug Fields wrote a great post in which he mentioned four ways churches might help strengthen families:
And while our youth ministry isn’t tackling those four areas in a strategically defined manner, I do think we’ve taken some pretty significant steps over the past two or three years that (I hope) are serving our families well. Here are a few new things we’re doing as well as some old stuff we’re simply trying to do a little bit better:
– Worship Together Weekends: We’ve written and talked a lot about this. Once a month, we cancel our JH and HS youth programs so families can attend “big church” together as a family.
– Parent Text Messages: Both our JH and HS ministries give parents the opportunity to sign up for a text message subscription that provides all sorts of announcements, insights, etc. from our team to mom and dad.
– “Help, I’m The Parent Of….!”: We recently had our first “Help, I’m The Parent Of….” workshop and it was a huge success. “Help, I’m The parent Of a Tech-Savvy Teen” helped parents understand how to navigate the world of social media with their teenagers. We plan to do a couple such workshops each year covering different topics.
If you happen to be in the Southern California area and would like to host your own, “Help, I’m The Parent Of A Tech-Savvy Teen” email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to put you in contact with the organization the put this wonderful event together for us.
– Family Activities: We are trying to put together more family events instead of events solely for teenagers. Not a ton….just a few per year. This past weekend, we had a family service in junior high and invited parents to join their junior high child for a lesson about the importance of family and a BBQ afterward.
– Better Costumer Service: This is an area I think we have taken big steps in…and we still have room to improve. We want to return emails and phone calls from parents quickly. We want to be easy to find at church. We want our communication to be timely and accurate. Trust is earned in the little things. And good customer service is a great place to start.
Doing youth ministry in a manner that serves the family well isn’t easy. And to be honest, it’s not the way I was raised to think about youth ministry which is why I’m thankful for people like Doug Fields, Kara Powell and others who are leading the charge.