what parents want from their youth worker
Itís funny how youth ministry changes dramatically when you have your own kid(s) in the group. I am a parent and a youth worker. I desperately want to reach out to this generation of students and I have a particular interest in a couple of girls who happen to live in my house and call me Dad. I want a partnership with our youth ministry and there are a few needs I have as a parent that I think youth workers could help me with in my responsibility as a Dad who wants my kids to thrive in their faith.
Communicate With Me!
Communication is a key need. What are you teaching my kids? When is the Summer Camp? Who is the small group leader asking my kid out for a Coke? What is your vision for the youth group? Parents need accurate, available and advance information concerning your youth ministry and youth group events. They need to know that they have quick access to the most important information, whether it is through a web page or a newsletter, or even an announcement at church.
Tell Me Your Vision
Parents need to know your heart and your vision. As a partner in bringing along my kid toward spiritual maturity, share with me your strategy for reaching out to kids in the youth group. One of the greatest downfalls of well-meaning youth workers is that they have a great strategy and philosophy of ministry but they simply havenít shared it with the parents of the kids in their group. The primary place of building students toward spiritual maturity is the home. Your job is to come alongside the parents and partner with them. Itís important to share your vision and get the parents on board with that vision.
Give Me Tools to Help My Kids Grow Spiritually
When you look at your ministry as a partnership with parents in helping your students grow spiritually, you will see your role as facilitator in helping the family succeed. As a youth worker you have access to resources many parents donít have but need. You can give parents family devotional ideas. You can give parents small group curriculum and book ideas for meeting together to talk about the special needs of parenting adolescence. You can offer seminars for the families in your church to gain better understanding of how to parent effectively. Youth workers today have to look at part of their job description as being a resource for parents.
I had no idea how wonderful and how frightening it is to parent a teenager until my own kids enthusiastically entered adolescence. As a youth worker I thought it would be a breeze. Not so. I may think I have all the answers for everyone elseís family but it was quite humbling to find out that my own girls didnít think I was as cool as other kids did. Parenting isnít easy and parenting an adolescent is even more difficult. As a youth worker I know all the bad stuff they could be involved in and it comes at a time when they are moving away from dependence on me and toward independence. I need my youth workers to come alongside me and sometimes just encourage me. I need an affirmation when my kids do something good at church. I need a note when I helped out at a youth group function. I need to be reassured that this incredible kid who lives in my home called a teenager is going to make it through these years, Better yet, I need our youth worker to encourage me that I will make it through these years!
So letís look at our ministry as partnering with parents as well as reaching out to students. It really is the way to do effective youth ministry with long lasting results.