3 Ways to Have Parents Working With You Not Against You

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I recently bought a new vehicle.  I hated the process.  I am so paranoid of getting a bad deal that the entire experience frustrates me.

The funny thing is I love buying houses.  A much larger investment but for some reason I like doing that instead.  Probably one of the reasons is that it is simple advice on a good real estate purchase.

You ask any real estate agent and they will tell the three most important things are, location, location, location.

What does this have to do with youth workers and parents? Actually a lot.

If you want to have parents partnering with you to make the ministry even better then there are three things you have to do.

COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE

I am going to get very honest with you.  Many of you are horrible at communicating with parents and as a result you tick them off.

So here are three ways you should communicate with parents.

Initiate Causal Verbal Communication

What do you do when students are being picked up?  Are you in your office?  Are you hanging out with students or leaders?

I think these are all the wrong things to be doing at this time.  You have a very small window when some parents might walk into the building to get their student.  Walk up to the parents and engage in conversation.  Talk about what happened that night.  Brag about how awesome their student is (parents love it when they hear positive gossip about their student).

Same thing goes for Sunday morning in the foyer.  You will have plenty of time to hang out with students but there are precious few moments to connect with parents.  Go up and talk to them.

Have Regular Formal Communication

When was the last time you had a formal parent meeting?  If the answer is not within the past 4 months then you are failing with your communication with parents.

I know too harsh.  You will tell me parents don’t show up.  Thats your fault, make the meetings more interesting or at a more convenient time.

How can you share vision, direction and understand what parents are going through if you don’t gather them 2 or 3 times a year and communicate.

The meetings don’t have to be long but they must be purposeful and meaningful.  Also food never hurts.

This is your chance to hand out schedules, retreat forms, and prayer lists.  This is your chance to get all of the parents on board.

Communicate over a Cup of Coffee

How many times a week do you take a student out for lunch or a coke.  I hope your answer is 2-5 times a week.  I think you should add 1 parent a week to this schedule.

For me there were few things more powerful in getting parents on board with the youth ministry then asking 2 or 3 moms to meet me for coffee.  I got to share my heart and hear theirs.

Every single time we walked away excited about the youth ministry and were it was going.

Are you scared of parents or do you find it is like swimming up stream when you deal with them?

My advice, Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.

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