How often are parents or families on youth pastors’ mind when they are calendaring their youth ministry?
Good news: More and more youth pastors are attempting to grasp family ministry in relation to youth ministry.
Bad news: Too many youth pastors blow off parents’ schedules, thoughts, and time and do whatever they please without even considering parents.
One of the biggest challenges youth ministries are facing: is getting parents (and some time the student pastor) to believe that they (the parents) are the primary spiritual leaders of their teen(s). Unfortunately, student pastors think their youth ministries are really helping mom and dad out. But in reality some youth ministry programs are causing mom and dad more headaches.
If you want to keep making mom and dad mad here is what you do:
05. Youth group runs past schedule time
If youth group is schedule to be done at 8:30pm, make sure prayer time is wrapping up at 8:26pm. I was notorious for having youth group go 15 minutes over because I failed to not start on time. Youth pastors need to remember mom and dad need sleep so they can wake up in the morning to go to work and having an extended youth group only wastes parents precious and very limited time. End youth group on time.
04. Schedule too many youth group activities
Doing more is not necessary better. Having 3 youth group activities a week is not necessary. Guess who may be responsible for driving their teen to Bible study? Mom or Dad. Students are extremely busy these days and “requiring” church events for teens during the week is not being mindful of mom and dad. Don’t get mad if families decide not to go to youth ministry winter camp and decide to take a family retreat to the mountains. My point: when scheduling youth group events, please consider the parent’s schedule and their time. Don’t get upset if families opt out of youth ministry events in order to have time together as a family.
03. No consistent communication
Parents love to be in the “know”. Make sure you are communicating through whatever means your parents respond to. In my experience parents respond to emails and church bulletins. Plus it helps if you have all youth ministry information on a hard printed out copy. It is very easy to hand parents “information” on a paper. I have never had a parent tell me I was over communicating. Make phone calls, send newsletters, send emails…do whatever it takes to keep the parents informed and equipped. By the way, never try to communicate important information through their teen. Teens will never tell their parents and if they do tell they will misconstrue the information to work to their benefit. Youth pastors that provide an open channel of communication will win parents over and provide a channel for feedback.
02. Don’t teach on sex
Parents always love when the youth pastor does a series on Sex. Parents are always worried about the sex life of their teenager. Youth pastors have to work hard at creatively talking about sex in their youth group at least once a year. Sexuality is out of control, which means it is extra important to talk about it. Plus when you talk about “sex” your numbers greatly increase, which makes everyone happy.
01. Not having an adult relationally reach out to their teen
Teens will not go to their parents for everything. So therefore they need other trusted adults in their life. This why youth ministry is so important because it can provide secondary outlets for students to cope and deal with their faith outside of the home. Chap Clark has always told youth pastors “students need at least 4-5 trusted adults in their mid to late adolescent years.” One of the best things youth ministries across the nation could do for it’s students is give them mature-trustworthy-Christian adults who love, care, and mentor students.