I shot out a quick note to our team this week right before our parent reception and Life Group Meet ‘N Greet. Just some quick reminders when partnering with parents!

  • Be full of grace and meekness.
  • Be positive. Attitude is everything!
  • Admit mistakes. It is OUR fault. Even when it is not our fault it is our fault.
  • If you are unclear in any way if you can accommodate a request, do not promise. Be realistic with the hope that you give a parent/student and their situation.
  • Work HARD to fix the problem. Get creative, leave no stone unturned looking for a solution. Nothing is worse than your supervisor finding a solution in 2 seconds that you should have found, too.
  • Pastor our people! We want to minister to parents, so pastor them, encourage them, brag on their kids, etc.
  • Give out our materials like candy! It will be a HIT with the parents and put right into their hands.
  • BE YOU. You are awesome. You are fun, you love this place and love these students.


My friend AC has a great new blog about leaders at our weekend services being active and available in our youth group meetings – here’s a clip of how he is leading our volunteer team on the weekend. Read this teaser, and head there for the rest:

  1. Greet – We want to greet students.  We will greet students instead of wait in a corner for them to come to us.  We will reach out to them instead of waiting for them to reach out to us.
  2. Meet – We want to make sure that we genuinely meet them.  Refer to the hand out “Hand Shake Hi to a Hug Goodbye/”.  I also had them refer to this handout I created to help them really connect with the students “Conversation tactics for youth workers“.
  3. Connect – We want to make sure that we are intentional about our conversation with students.  We want to look for ways in the conversation to suggest a next step.  For new students we want to guide them towards community.  That could range from life groups to serving opportunities within the ministry or summer camp.  You can even suggest grabbing coffee, lunch or ice cream with them sometime.  For students who are already in life groups, you can suggest serving in a ministry, missions or summer camp.  We want to make sure students are getting connected.
  4. Pray – We want to pray for students.  While you are connecting through conversations, once an area of struggle, pain, disappointment, hardship and trial appears offer prayer.  We want to avoid saying “I’ll be praying for you”.  Pray for the student right there on the spot.  Even pray for the core students you already know that have been met, greeted and connected.  Go deeper in conversation and pray for them.  Just because they are a part of our core students doesn’t mean they have everything together.  Every situation will be different but when the opportunity presents itself feel free to pray.


You’ve got some leaders showing up to youth group – but after a few weeks they fall into the dreaded trap of standing in the back of the room as chaperones instead of shepherds. They need modeling on how to talk to teenagers and some training! Saw this on the YS Blog and am going to steal it for our ministry, too. Here’s a clip from 10 Tips to a 1st Encounter:

1. Say hello!
Don’t be shy! Take the initiative to introduce yourself. Although their body language may be showing otherwise, students want a warm welcome!

2. Understand the context
Let your surroundings and circumstances dictate how to begin the conversation. For instance, if you’re meeting at a food place, talk about what’s good to eat, at a movie theater, what movie to see, etc.

3. Pay attention
You’ll learn a lot about people from their body language and the words and phrases they use. Listen and watch carefully

4. Pay attention, part 2
Your own body language will determine how willing and interested you are to actually have a conversation. Be authentic. Students know whether you are genuinely interested or not.

5. Let’em shine!
Encourage students to talk about themselves by asking about their interests, tattoos, jewelry, bad breath, etc.


Tuesdays and Wednesday were our first nights of small groups this Fall – each year we have an informal “meet n greet” where parents meet the small group leader and feel comfortable heading into the new year. Students pick up their resources for the year and hang out with their leader and hang out together.

After about 30 minutes, we asked parents to come outside for a short reception and let the student groups continue to get to know each other a little better. We brought the parents out for a quick 15-minute fellowship time, with soft drinks and a short time of prayer for the leaders and their students. It was really something special to be a part of – I think we’ll do it again next year!