Some Family based ministry thoughts from an article on YouthWorker.com by Jim Burns.
For the first time, I looked at ministry to parents not as one more program on the periphery of my ministry, but rather as central to my calling. Family based youth ministry isn’t about adding a program. It’s a mindset.
Today, many families lack the understanding and tools necessary to raise children in the legacy of faith. We, as part of the church leadership, must shoulder some of the blame because we’ve let parents delegate their children’s spiritual training to us. I don’t see parents clamoring to take back this responsibility.
We must help families succeed. How can we do that by informing, assisting, involving and encouraging parents.
****Paraphrasing Jim Burns. My thoughts in burgundy
How can we do that:
by informing>>Parents want to know what is going with the youth ministry. At my last position I had employed using Facebook, a website, Twitter, and parents meeting/gatherings.
The easiest ways to communicate with parents include a parent’s newsletter/e-mail, parent informational nights or after-church meetings, a youth group information hotline and a prominent message board.
assisting>>Assisting Parents is critical for a youth ministry that wants to call itself Family based. Parents are on the front line with their teens. They hopefully spend more time with their teenager than I do. The youth ministry must provide opportunities for parents to get to grow together. Strengthen their walk with God. This will help them to know God better.
involving>>In my opinion, parents do not think they can or will be able to help their children understand who God is and they can love, know, serve him more. Sometimes parents say their teens do not want to be around them. I think that they teen is really checking to see how much the parent want to be with their teen. I have served in small to middle-sized ministries I have always asked parents to give their child a choice about the parents level of involvement. I agree with Jim Burns on the many ways a parent can be involved in the ministry. He lists a few great ideas below.
indirect ways parents can get involved: prayer teams, advisory councils, retreat chaperoning, driving, food preparation, discipleship, fund raising* and hospitality just to name a few. We need to provide a variety of ways for parents to get involved.
and encouraging parents>>I know that this is an area in which I need to do a better job. I think that the senior pastor must also have the mindset of family based ministry to be really effective.
Some good ways to offer encouragement are developing parent recognition Sundays, writing affirming notes and sitting with the parents at their child’s events. Get creative. Every time you offer a parent the gift of encouragement, you’re doing family based youth ministry.
*Another post for another time.