When I first entered into ministry, I quickly realized that I don’t get to see students all that often. I calculated the time a student has per week and on average, if a student comes to everything at church, we only get to see a student approximately three to five hours a week. Middle school teachers and sports coaches get to see their students anywhere from twelve to thirty hours a week, depending on the type of schedule the student has. That math got me thinking, “What about the other one hundred and thirty-three hours a student has? Who else has the ability to speak into these students the rest of the week?” That’s when it clicked, parents!
I don’t have a kid myself, but what I’ve gathered from moms and dad around me and my own parents, is that parenting is not easy. When you become a parent you automatically get twenty other job titles attached: soccer coach, chauffeur, grocery shopper, schedule manipulator, maid, shoulder to cry on, disciplinarian, creative assistant, tutor, family mastermind, and all-around superhero. Parents really don’t stop.
Figuring out that moms and dads were going to be my biggest ally was not the hardest question to answer. My big question was how. How do I involve them without putting pressure on their already busy lives? How do I keep them in the know? How do I team up with the most powerful human beings on the planet to not only help our student ministry thrive, but most importantly, in order to help their students grow in their walk with Jesus? Through brainstorming, mentors, and good ole’ fashion trial and error in my own life, these are 5 of the ways you can involve and keep parents in-the-know in your ministry.
- Set Them Up // When you play volleyball, there a few things better than knowing you perfectly set the ball that is about to be spiked. Something super simple that your ministry can start doing is letting your parents know what series you will be covering on Wednesdays and Sundays throughout the semester. Whether it’s a quick monthly email or an elaborate email at the beginning of each quarter, keeping your parents in the know is a simple way to stay on the same page. In the email, you can let mom and dad know information like the topics and passages of each series, along with any events that might be going on. Your job is to set them up so they are able to communicate better with their students about what is happening, what is being talked about, and about what God is teaching them.
- Make Volunteering Easy // Parents. Are. Busy. No doubt about it, but they still want to help and be involved. Parents might not be able to help out every single week, but as a ministry, it is wise to have places for families to serve during the year. Maybe it’s opening up their home for a DNOW. Perhaps it’s asking them to be a project lead on a local mission trip. Maybe someone would be willing to open up with home for a lake day. The answer is always “no” if you don’t ask, but having spaces for parents to serve makes it that much easier for them to serve.
- Provide Parent Classes // At this age all parents want to do is be close to and learn about their student. And all students want to do are get as far away from their parents as possible. Whether it’s a meeting about the transition into middle school, a talk about technology, or a seminar about teens and mental health, providing ways for parents to understand their students are crucial. These classes and be taught by a member of your church or pastor who would be considered an “expert” in a certain category being discussed. Parents are just trying to understand their students, and providing a safe space for them to learn is one of the best ways for your church to partner with parents.
- Have Parent-Student Events // Having an event specifically made for mom figures and daughters or father-son events has been on my heart more and more. The point of this event is to specifically partner with parents to provide a safe space where parents and students can come together and both be educated about a gender-specific topics. Again, this event would be best taught by an “expert” in the subject you are wanting to address.
- Text Parents! // This is a little less formal, but makes a massive impact. There is no faster way to put a smile on a parent’s face than to text them a picture of their student. Whether it’s a smiling picture of their student with something they said during small group, a picture of their student serving, or just a candid in general. Sending a text takes 2 minutes to do and makes a bigger impact than you could ever know. Bragging on a student not only speaks volumes about your ministry and that you’re watching and helping their students grow, but it says so much more about the student. By texting a parent, you are also giving them a personal touch by letting them know their kiddo is honoring God!
Whether it’s creating classes or simply sending a text, partnering with parents is not only crucial to a healthy ministry, but it’s biblical. Partnering up with parents can make all the difference in your ministry, and in the lives of your students at home. When parents know that their church is not only a safe place for their students to grow spiritually, but it also a place they feel educated and partnered with, that’s when we, as church members, have done our job. Helping better our student’s relationships outside of the church ultimately push them towards the gospel.
Rachel Fox Frazier has the joy of serving full-time as the Middle School Girls Associate at Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. She loves spending her days helping students take their next right step in their relationship with Jesus. And she loves to spend her nights writing, planning, and dreaming about ways she can help others do the same! Rachel is recent newlywed and adores her hilarious and Jesus-loving husband. She loves connecting with others of matcha lattes, serving overseas, and everything about student ministry. Connect with Rachel: Instagram // Website