In my final post in “The How-To Guide To Engaging Our Parents in Ministry,” I wanted to share some great wisdom from author Jim Burns. In his book, Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry, he writes about the four essential pillars to engaging parents in ministry.
1. Communicate: this sounds pretty straight forward, yet, in my own experience, I found that parents were constantly emailing or calling me to get more details about something. This was simply because I was not communicating well with them.
Burns suggests that there are four major areas that we need to communicate with parents about:
- Keeping parents updated about programs and events.
- Sharing the vision of your ministry. It’s been said that by the time a leader is getting really sick of sharing the vision for their ministry, others are just starting to get it. All people get excited about an exciting vision. Keep sharing the vision of what you hope to do in your ministry.
- Displaying your passion. Parents want to know why you are passionate about your ministry and serving others. When you share your passions, it reassures parents that you have the best interests in mind for them and their children.
- Provide an open forum. It is important to constantly listen to the feedback of parents. Providing an open forum allows parents to connect with you and provide insight and feedback that can help you improve your ministry.
2. Encourage and Equip: Parents often need two things: affirmation and skills. The affirmations are needed to let parents know that they are doing a good job in their parenting. The skills are needed to help them become better parents. If we can provide both, then parents will be grateful and willing to stay involved.
3. Involve: If you are doing the first two pillars well, then pillar three becomes easier. Involve your parents in your ministry. Burns suggests creating opportunities for parents to get involved in the following:
- Prayer Groups
- Parent Advisory Council
- Socials for parents
- Retreats for parents
4. Reach Out: This is about discovering what parents need, not only in raising their children, but also the needs they have in general. The church has the opportunity to reach out to provide things such as counseling sessions, special seminars for parents, divorce recovery workshops, or a myriad of other things. Get creative which how you reach out with parents. Once you start talking with them, you soon to discover that our parents have many needs.
Question: Which pillars are you successful in and which pillars need some extra work?
I hope you enjoyed this series and I look forward to your feedback.
Here is a summary of posts for “The How-To Guide To Engaging Our Parents in Ministry” series:
- The How-To Guide To Engaging Our Parents in Ministry: Part 1
- The How-To Guide To Engaging Our Parents in Ministry: Part 2 – It’s All About Dialogue
- Connect Parents with Parents – The How-To Guide To Engaging Our Parents in Ministry: Part 3
- Listening to Parents: The How-To Guide To Engaging Our Parents in Ministry: Part 4
- Faith Is Not As Important As Soccer: The How-To Guide To Engaging Our Parents in Ministry: Part 5
- The Sacraments: The How-To Guide To Engaging Our Parents in Ministry: Part 6