Parents Involved in Youth Ministry

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I just returned from a Youth Unlimited Youth Workers Retreat in Rockford, IL and one of the discussions focused around ‘Parental involvement in Youth Ministry’. It produced a very active discussion as most people around the table had varying view points on the subject. So, join in on the conversation!

Here are a few thoughts that came up: should parents be involved in your week-to-week youth ministry? Should they be a small group leader? Should they come along on ministry trips? What role should they take? If any at all?

Please share what has worked and what hasn’t worked for YOU with youth workers across North America.

Come, join the discussion.

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I would love it if parents were involved in our youth ministry beyond the typical role of chauffeur and/or host. I encourage the parents of my youth to participate in any and all of our youth events in whatever way or role they feel most comfortable - from helping out in the kitchen, to joining in during activity time, to sharing their faith story, to being a small group leader, to being a mentor. So far, there haven't been many takers - parents tend to rely on the excuse that their kids don't want them at youth. Even if this is the case (which isn't as often as parents like to assume it is)
upon becoming involved, many parents (and their children) realize what a blessing it is to participate in youth ministry.
The obvious caveat being that if a parent is a small group leader, they would not be the leader of the group in which their child is a member.

I love the parent involvement idea!

Participant

When I was a youth pastor, I would hold a parent dessert meeting to talk about the upcoming year and how we could work together (not just events but personal issues).  I also did quarterly training stuff geared towards parents.  I would pick hot topics (drinking, porn, talking to kids about sex, etc.) and bring in someone to educate them.  They really appreciated it.

I have been wondering a lot lately about parent ministry as a part of youth ministry.  Typically youth pastors spend a bulk of their time with students but very little time with parents.  But in all honesty we typically spend no more than 5 hours max a week with any given student (that may even be a high estimate).  Parents hopefully spend more time than that with their students.  Maybe we should be spending as much time if not more on parent or multigenerational ministry as we do on youth ministry. 

I like the idea of including parents in any way appropriate in our youth ministries.  Having them drive or serve or whatever else makes them present to their youth and takes some responsibility off of other leaders.  I also like the idea of education parents in meaningful ways.  Last fall we held a class for parents and students where we discussed today's youth culture - we used Walt Mueller's Youth Culture 101 as our guide.  We had some good discussions with parents and youth together about the realities of today's culture.  We hope to do more joint educational experiences together in the future.