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Previously I shared with you some key elements to a successful relationship with the parents of your teenagers. Here are a few more that will help bring integrity and sharpen your ministry.
  1. Invite parents to youth services. Let them know they are welcome any time. You may want to have a special youth service night when all of the teenagers bring their parents.

  2. Utilize their talents and gifts. Parents are a wonderful resource for youth leaders, artist, cooks, drivers, corporate sponsorship, etc...

  3. Always hear both sides of the story before casting judgment. At times I have been ready to read a parent the riot act, but then I hear their perspective and it changes the situation completely. Teenagers are not always great at communicating all of the facts.

  4. Seek and rely upon the input, advice, and wisdom of parents. Often I would call a parent to run an idea by them or see what their opinion was on showing a certain movie and it was often a fresh perspective.

  5. Let parents know you are here to be a support to them, not trying to "win their teen" from them. As youth leaders our job is to steer teenagers back to their parents.

  6. Inform parents of any serious or ongoing discipline problems. I always ask myself, "Would I want to know about it if it was my child?" In order not to break the confidence of a teenager or make them feel like I am going behind their back, I give them three options: 1) You tell them. 2) I tell them. Or, 3) We tell them together. The teenager usually wants there parents never to find out, but by taking this approach it gives them some control of the situation.

  7. When a teenager asks you a question your first question back to them should be, "What do your parents think?" Otherwise, they could use your answer as ammunition with their parents. Be leery of questions about dating, curfew, etc. Always steer the student back to their parent's advice and opinions.

  8. Send them a personal card or note. So many times when a parent is contacted about their teenager by the school or church it is to inform them of a problem or negative situation. What a joy it is for parents to receive a note from you telling them how special their son or daughter is and what a privilege it is to have them in the youth group. I made it a goal to write three different parents each week. This is a great time to brag on their kid of how they were worshipping God, reached out to a new student, or has great behavior during service.

  9. Have a "Parents That Care" meeting once a quarter. The name itself will pressure parents to come. One of my most successful ideas was a panel of "empty nesters" who came in to share their parenting victories and mistakes. Other times we had small group discussions or idea exchanges and fellowship. Parents just need to know they are not the only ones going through a difficult situation.

  10. Find out who the parents are. Sometimes we know the teenagers but have never made the connection to their parents. Make it a point to have teenagers introduce you to their parents.

  11. Don't try to be a know it all. If you don't have answers, don't try to make one up. Parents appreciate honesty. But do let them know you will do some research and get back with them.

  12. Develop a parents' resource library. Ask parents if they would be willing to allow the youth ministry to borrow parenting books that have helped them. Parents can come to your office and check out a book for one week. This is a tremendous blessing and makes it affordable for everyone.

  13. Develop an authentic relationship with parents. Parents should be suspicious of any adult who wants to develop a relationship with their teen.

    Parent/teen events are always a hit! We did a Father/Daughter banquet that was amazing. We coached the Dads about buying flowers, treating their daughter special, and we also ask them to come with a love note written to their daughter.

    During the dinner they were asked to read them to their daughter. Gator sized tears were everywhere. Yes, I know some people say, "That's not fair for those girls who don't have a father." Maybe, but we shouldn't stop ministry to those who do have a dad, either.

    Get creative and tap into God for some more awesome ideas to minister to the families in your church and community.

    Dean Hawk Ministries
    All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Dean Hawk
Web site: The Rock Family Church
Dean and Kim are the founding pastors of Rock Family Church. They have been married since 1983 and they have five adult children; Alesha and her husband, Aaron, Allyson, and Preston and his wife, Melannie. In addition, they have one grandson, Asher. Since 1981 Dean has served in the full-time ministry. Prior to starting RFC in 2004, he served as a Youth and Associate Pastor in three different churches. You will enjoy Dean's practical and illustrative teaching style as he makes the Bible come alive through both topical and verse-by-verse teachings that you can apply to everyday life. Along with his current pastoral duties, Dean is also an adjunct professor at Charis Bible College in Woodland Park. Kim serves on our Executive Team as CFO, she oversees the Children's Team and the Women's Ministry. Her energetic and contagious attitude, in addition to her love for her church family is evident. Be sure and introduce yourself, they can always be found in the lobby between services. They look forward to meeting you soon!

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