Thursday, May 23, 2024
Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTUDENT MINISTRY: Signs of a Healthy Student Ministry - Parentally Connected

STUDENT MINISTRY: Signs of a Healthy Student Ministry – Parentally Connected

Several months ago, I shared a series of articles entitled “Signs of a Healthy Student Ministry.” We discussed being Gospel-Centered, Bible-Centric, Prayer-Infused, Church-Integrated and Relationship-Driven. After revisiting these concepts for a workshop I would be preasenting with a number of BMA of Mississippi youth leaders, I realized that I had left one off, Parentally-Connected.

A healthy student ministry is one that involves and connects with the whole family rather than creating a place to escape from them. Our goal as student ministry workers is to join up with the parents as partners in disciple-making of their students. While that may not be the pattern in your ministry, that doesn’t change the importance of approaching student ministry with this mindset. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 encourages parents to share the truth of God’s Word throughout every aspect of life, not just on days of gathered worship. That makes “Mom and Dad” the disciple-makers for their families.

So, if this hasn’t been the pattern, how do we help create this environment in our student ministries? How do we partner with our parents? It must be intentional. With many student ministry workers being on the younger side, there can be some built-in challenges. However, our job, as Student Ministry Workers, is not to replace the parents as the primary disciple-makers in a student’s life. We are to support the work that is being done and assist. Let’s look at some things that will help us have a parentally-connected student ministry:

• Communicate often with your parents. Communication is king as you work with someone else’s children. Share your teaching plan, the event calendar, your victories within the group, setbacks and, most importantly, your love and concern for your students. There are so many ways we can keep those lines of communication open — newsletters (printed or email), social media, texts, phone calls, letters, home visits and parent meetings. Communication is key when seeking to help people understand and support a ministry. It builds trust.

• Invite parents into the youth space. That doesn’t necessarily mean a parent night at youth group, but it could. The idea is to make sure your parents always feel welcome. They should be able to see, hear and understand what is happening. There should never be any secrets in your student ministry.

• Ask parents to serve as volunteers. This may be a bit tricky. If your students don’t have a good relationship with their parents, it can bring unwanted stress to the youth group. However, it is important for your students without parents in the church to see the power of adults following Christ. Establish qualifications for anyone serving as a volunteer and don’t make exceptions for your parents but try to bring them in where appropriate.

• Get parents involved by sending home questions with students for their students. Do what you can to provide opportunities for connection between parents and students. That can simply start with questions. Have your students ask mom or dad when they accepted Christ, how much they think of spiritual things or what is their favorite church memory. The sky is the limit. Get your families talking.

Let’s remember that youth ministry is family ministry. If we want to have a truly healthy student ministry, we must work to be intentional and get our parents connected.