There isn’t one way to be family-friendly. There are many things a youth ministry can do to value the family. One of the actions that I ask my volunteers to do is to care for the families of the students they work with. Instead of me writing about how volunteers can care for families, let me give you an actual example of a letter between one of our volunteers and a dad.
As you read the letters, notice two things; (1) how the volunteer affirmed the student—that’s key to good family-friendly youth ministry. And, (2) notice the appreciation from the family—that’s how cared for parents respond.
For more information on being family-friendly, you can read either Purpose Driven Youth Ministry or Your First Two Years of Youth Ministry (both books have a chapter on family in them).
[This letter was written by one of our volunteer youth workers to a dad about his son, Josh.]
I just wanted to drop you a quick note and let you know much Josh has changed and how proud of him I am.He has just come into his own this year.
At the beginning of the school year, I started having different students lead our small group time. Josh has done such a great job in the opportunities he’s had to lead. He has really impressed me!
The other thing he has done is started leading worship before the small group starts. He definitely has a future as a worship leader. When he starts playing he gets into a groove that is unexplainable, and he transforms our small group into a true place of worship. My wife Jen and I are so impressed with him as a worship leader.
I love having Josh around and I so glad God worked on him and has brought him to where he is now.I am even more excited that he is only a junior and I still have a 1 1/2 years left with before he leaves for college.
Josh would never tell you about any of this, so i just wanted to let you know how much he has changed.
[This is the dad’s response]
You will never know how much it means to me and Jamie to read this. The only way to explain this is the power of answered prayer. Nearly every day since we arrived here two years ago, our prayer has been that God would bring into our sons' lives strong Godly leaders and friends who would not only love them unconditionally, but encourage them to grow in their faith and dependence upon Christ.
Needless to say, folks like you and Jen have been the hands and feet behind many of those answered prayers in all three of our boys' lives.
We praise God for the time and the personalized attention each of them receive from the Saddleback Youth Ministry team. But we are especially grateful to see all that God is doing in Josh’s life. Thank you for your part in that life-changing work. Thank you too for taking the time to encourage me and Jamie with this email. Yeah God!
May God continue to bless you and your family as you reach out to all these students.
Family-friendly youth ministry is more of an attitude than it is a program. Keep looking for the little ways to build up the family.