There is a wonderful movement in the church toward small groups and cell groups of people getting together around a topic of mutual interest. In the world of youth and family ministry there has been a crying need for more and better interactive parenting material for small group communication. You can be a hero to the parents of kids in your group and perhaps do some of your finest ministry by sponsoring a parent of teenagers’ small group.
Cathy and I were in a couples group from our church for six years. I noticed that basically whatever curriculum we used it always came back to issues with our kids and our marriages. As you know, it’s not easy raising teenagers and parents need all the help they can get. A couple of years ago I wrote a small group curriculum for parents and frankly, was surprised at the incredible amount of positive attention it received from churches all over the world. The topics I chose were Attitude, Sexuality, Self-image, Communication, Media and Spiritual growth. There are so many more topics to cover as well.
Here’s my suggestion. Some time during the beginning of the year, invite parents of youth group students to a 4 to 6 week small group experience to help them raise their kids. You need a curriculum, a leader, and plenty of time for the parents to talk. Today there are plenty of ready-made small group materials. The important part is allowing time for conversation and connection.
As you begin a small group for parents, here are some important points to remember.
Make it relational: People learn best when they talk and dialog. Parents need others who are experiencing some of the same issues to relate to and share ideas.
Make it experiential: People retain what they learn so much better when they are involved in the material. Use case studies, discussion starters, videos, activities and more. Parents want to experience deep and meaningful conversation.
Make it applicable: The question must always be asked, “Now that I have learned this parenting principle, what am I going to do about it?” I call this the “so what” part of learning.
Make it biblical: I am convinced that parents of kids in your group really do want to know what a Biblical approach to parenting is all about.
Part of good youth ministry is using the multiplication and leverage of small groups to make a huge difference in the lives of families. A small group experience for the parents in your church may be one of the most effective ministries you will have for families in your church. Long after they have graduated from your youth group, they will still be deeply engaged with their families. You can help provide greater health and insight by simply offering a safe environment for parents to interact. Try it and you might just reach hero status!