Recently I saw this tweet from ParentMinistry.net; “When it comes to partnering with parents we have to earn the right to be heard. We have to earn credibility.”
I agree with this tweet whole heartedly. But my brain goes, “How”. How is the best way to earn credibility with parents.
I want to suggest 4 ways…
Them Not You
Always have this tucked away in the back of your head when dealing with parents. The parent will have more influence over the student than you will.
You are not with the student as much as the parents are and you do not have the history of being with them since birth. You will be a better youth pastor remembering that the parents have more influence then you.
Also, the parents will notice this respect and it will gain you credibility.
Communicate Until It Hurts
You are dreaming of things to do in your youth ministry (banana baseball anyone) and you are planning when to do it. You have been thinking, dreaming and praying about the youth ministry. This is all great, but the problem is you forget not everyone has spent this much mental energy on the ministry.
Let me say this clearly, PARENTS HATE TO BE SURPRISED. They want to know what is happening and when it is happening. You will think you are over communicating because it has been on your mind for so long but you are not.
Send emails or texts, make postcards or newsletters. I am less concerned on how you communicate and more concerned that you do it a lot. Because if you do you will gain credibility.
Do What You Say
This is closely connected to proper communication, stick to your word. If you say you will be arriving back to the church at 9pm, then move heaven and earth to be back at 9pm.
Parents are busy and have made plans. When you do not do what you said you were going to do it has a ripple effect for everyone. In a nutshell it messes with their lives.
If you stick to the plan, if you do what you say you will do I promise you will gain credibility with parents.
If You Fight You Will Lose
It is going to happen. A student is going to sit down with you and start complaining about how unreasonable their parents are. In that moment you will want to agree with them. To be on the students side. You are dumb if you do this.
When the parent hears this (and I promise they will hear about it) you will lose all credibility.
Now this doesn’t mean you have to be in the parents corner on every issue (you might have to take the role of mediator) but you must not be against the parent. If you are this is the quickest way to lose credibility.
So there you have it, my 4 ways to gain credibility with parents. What are some of yours?