Expectations are super important between parents and small group leaders. A lot of the issues I’ve run into between parents and small group leaders has been about expectations not being met or unrealistic expectations being casted. In this post I’ve listed a few expectations parents should have of leaders and leaders should have of parents. Now, I would probably add more tactical stuff if the list called for it, but I really wanted to share things that are just sometimes implied but never said. It is important I communicate these implied expectations for clarity between leaders and parents.
What parents should expect of leaders:
- Communicate – Communication is so important during the small group season. The leader that keeps their parents in the dark is looking for conflict. Parents need to know in advance of any possible changes to the group. They need to know if they are supposed to do something for a party or outing. Again, the more notice you can give them the better. Communicate!!!
- Support – Parents need to know that your leaders are there to support in leading/mentoring/teaching their child. I use the word support because it’s really a partnership between the leader and the parents. We don’t want to strip the parent of the responsibility of spiritually leading their child. Now, there are some students where we will have to play that roll but we don’t want to make it a practice. We also want to support the student in life, which sometimes mean supporting the family. Whether that’s going to a game or walking with the family through a crisis. Support!!!
- Be another voice for the parents - As a leader I have a great opportunity to increase the influence of the parent as well as Christ in the student’s life. My role should be an extension of the parents regardless whether they are believers or not. I’ve personally seen God do amazing things in the lives of parents whose child has heeded the advice to honor their mother and father even though they are not believers. Be that external parental voice!!!
- Be available - Now, when I say available I mean leaders should be reachable. Parents should be able to text, email or call and get a response, might not always be right away but days and days shouldn’t go by without a response. Not being reachable is another way to create unwanted conflict with a parent. The expectation should be 24 hours at the most. I’ve seen more drama start because the leader gets frustrated and decides they have a choice in whether they have to respond to a leader. Be available!!!
In order for your leaders to be successful you must expect your parents to do the following:
- Reinforce leaders rules at group. – Parents need to know that they can help herd the cattle by helping their child take the structure and rules seriously. Example: I have a no cell phone policy at group. If they come home and complain just reinforce the rule because they are in place to help not hurt. You play a huge part in the respect your child have for their leader so know that they will have just as much respect for their leader as you do.
- Have conversations about what’s being taught in life group. - Parents need to be in the conversation of what’s being taught. Whether you’re sending them the lesson or just some questions. I’m not saying parents need to get into a theological debate, but just an easy conversation about what their child is learning will make all the difference. I want my leaders to know that they are working with the parents and not the other way around. So we need to let parents know that we are expecting the stuff taught to be talked about at home.
- Respect the leaders time. - Parents need to know that leaders aren’t paid. For some of your leaders, every hour they spend with a student is time spent away from their own family. So be on time dropping off and picking up. If the student is not going to be at group, let their leader know. Leaders see this time with students as ministry and vital. So parents need to make sure their child is missing group only when they really have to. Help parents respect your leaders time!!!
Implied rules and the phrase “you should know better” go hand in hand and is just a disaster waiting to happen. It may even sound silly sharing things people should already know, but you will be glad you did.
- Do you share expectations between parents and leaders?
- If so, what is some other implied expectations between parents and leaders that may need to be addressed?
hope it helps