One of the mistakes I made when I first started was not involving parents. I started doing kids ministry full-time when I was 22 years old. I was fresh out of college I had helped in kids ministry for years but leading something is a whole other animal.
When I took over the kids ministry I had lots of people quit not because they were angry but more because during transitions times that’s what happens. I had been helping my friend Mike with the youth group and was spending lots of time with the teens pouring into them and building relationships. When people started quitting I didn’t pray about who God wanted to fill those slots I just started asking my friends and teens from the youth ministry.
It took me a few years and actually one incident for God to get my attention. I remember it like it was yesterday I was teaching up front and the teens had just finished a skit and being from NY “busting chops” is an everyday occurrence. One of the kids who was very good at mocking others said something to me and I responded back and got him so good he didn’t have a come back, which was rare for this kid. You know what he did in response? He was wearing a costume so while still on stage he mooned me (thank God he had his pants on under his costume) At that moment I realized that I needed to raise the level of maturity in my volunteers.
I prayed and I felt God speak to me about parents and how to get them involved ever since that day parents have been a huge part of what we do. We still have lots of teens helping but the are in rolls that play to their strengths more. I wish I would have engaged with parents from the start, I think I would have been further down the road today. I am thankful for every volunteer we have kids need the unique perspective that teens, parents, and seniors bring. Our god is a multi-generational God I think our ministries should reflect that.
7 comments On Not including parents.
Well this post definitely helps me, what are some ways you got the parents involved and connected?
1. I had a bring your parents to kids church event – gave the kids points to our store if they brought their parents.
2. Talked to the parents about the value of being involved in their kids spiritual lives. – explained that if they sit through 3 hours of soccer in the rain and just drop their kids off at church they are sending the message that soccer matters more than God. To speak into your kids lives when they are in their teen years you have to start building bridges now.
3. Look for parents who have good kids and who engage with their kids
4. Find out who are school teachers
5. Make sure you build value from the pulpit.
6. Presently I am working on creating events outside of Sunday that help kids and parents engage spiritually. If we can equip parents and step out of the way and let them lead their kids spiritually, then come back in and reinforce what their parents are saying that would have a powerful and lasting impact.
I think many parents don't engage their kids spiritually because they don't understand the priesthood of all believers.
thanks for sharing your hard lessons. These are precious experiences that makes your ministry what it is. Are u able to share how involvable parents were at the start and the journey making them more? Thanks man!
No worries Rags. I have lots of them 🙂
Great topic! Thanks for your vulnerability! It's amazing how many lessons we learn from experiences like this. I remember a time when I let a young guy lead our large group time. It was going to be a good experience. He prepped the whole thing on his own. – After walking in to a Britney Spears music video (which he thought was culturally relevant) followed by a very off color clip from a PG 13 movie…I took over …made a lot of apologies … and learned a lesson that sometimes teens (and even your 20's like this guy) have great hearts, but still are not parents. After that – I formed a volunteer leadership team made up of parent of children of all ages.
Thanks Joe for adding to the conversation. Glad to know I am not the only one out there that needs a mulligan from time to time.