I remember when I first heard the term “partnering with parents.” It was at a family ministry conference in 2009. It was revolutionary for me as I saw parents as what the Scripture had always described them as. Parents are the primary means God uses in the life of a child to come to an understanding the gospel in the context of relationship. Jump forward several years, and I am still personally wrestling with what does that look like for me as a dad and for the church I serve? It was just two weeks ago I had this conversation with several other kids pastors we were discussing how to make this commonly shared understanding a reality. The fact we could have that conversation about how to practically partner with parents only happened because we all assume it’s necessary.
Rather than me telling you are partnering with parents is necessary, because I assume that we both agree it is. Let me ask you a question.
What does Partnering with Parents mean to you? In your church what do you do to leverage the influence parents have in the lives of their kids?
For me partnering with parents used to mean tools and information. Today it means discipleship. The longer I serve in the same church, and the more I follow Christ what I become aware of more keenly is my need to follow and to lead others to do the same. To partner with parents isn’t about programs and tools although it uses those means from time to time. To help parents spiritual lead their kids and families, parents need to be disciples and know how to make disciples. We can lower the bar and hope for any sign of life. We must challenge parents to follow Jesus so they will be willing and able to lead their kids into a relationship with Christ. As kids and youth pastors, we need to take a collective step backward and figure out how we can equip, disciple and train parents so they understand and can use the tools we are so eager to hand out.