We all want to connect with parents right? It’s crazy for anyone to think that one youth pastor and a team of leaders could be held responsible for the spiritual development of a youth group of any size. The spiritual development of youth is about partnershipsleveraging the influences to have a greater impact on every student. Therefore, it is critical that we help to foster the connection between parents and our leaders so that no group- youth workers, small group leader, or parents- feel like they are going it alone. There are two things that we have done to help foster this partnership in our goal to reach youth.
1) Small Group Leader Cards
It is imperative that every parent not just know we have Small Group and Life Group leaders, but that they really know those leaders and who they are, as people. Parents should be able to email leaders and have open conversation outside of church, invite leaders over for dinner, to a sports game, or to a play featuring their student. Leaders could even be on game show as part of the family (Hey, it could happen!). We want them to have access to fun facts about their student’s leader, and really get to know who they are. Most of all, it should be made easy for parents to pray for the leaders who are taking a role in their student’s spiritual development. So we put together a card for every leader that includes a picture, their email, the area they serve in, and a few fun facts. It is kept on our Youth Information Wall, and we encourage every parent to take their leader’s card, put it on the fridge or in their office; wherever they will see it often.
2) Small Group Leader/ Parent Breakfast
In addition, we find times for our leaders and parents to get together. Our goal is to foster discussion in a way that allows them to get to know each other better and see that we are really all on the same team after all. Everything at the breakfast, from placemats to discussion cards are all made to gear and guide discussion. From prior experience and great feedback, it is clear that both parents and leaders enjoy this time together. Although this relationship that is being fostered by the church is absolutely a new world for some of our parents, everyone loves and sees the value in it. Our Pastors love the fact that the! breakfast is a multi-generational activity, our leaders love it because it gives them a way to connect with parents, and our parents loved being able to put a face to a name, and to hear from their leader’s mouth how much their students are valued. This is also effective in afternoon saturday lunch formats, as well as evening dessert nights. Indeed, there are many great adaptations to this idea; all with the same goal in mind, connecting youth small group leaders and parents. No youth pastor wants the be the only person that every parent sees and talks to about how to better love and serve their students.
There is always more we can do to connect our small group leaders with parents, so what am I missing? What are you doing at your church that I and others can steal? Leave a comment!
Justin Herman is the Jr. High Minister at Christ Presbyterian Church in Huntington Beach, CA. He has been in youth ministry for seven years. Justin speaks at camps and FCA meetings, writes, and is a social media fanatic. He breathes for Jesus and the creativity that is so vital within youth ministry. He was born in NYC, raised in Buffalo, educated in Missouri, and now lives in California. You can connect with Justin @HeyJustinHerman or Facebook.com/HeyJustinHerman.