3 Benefits of Parent Relationships- C.J. Smith
There is no way around the importance of relationships in effective ministry. In my 9 years of student ministry, I have never heard of a growing ministry that did not focus on building relationships. It is easy to neglect the vital relationship between you and the parents of your students. I believe the benefits of these relationships far outweigh the negatives.
Here are just three (maybe surprising) benefits of building relationships with parents.
1. They Are Great Leaders
Most parents make great leaders in youth ministry. What parent is not going to want the best for their child? As a leader in your ministry, they are going to make sure that everything you do is top-notch.
One of the best perks of a parent-leader is that they are already around students regularly.
Sleepovers, birthday parties, sports games, and plays are all great ways for parents to get to know other students. Parents may not always be willing to take time out of their busy schedules to watch a “random” student in a sports game or a school play.
However, they will always be there to watch their own students perform. If possible, encourage parents to serve in the same age group as their own children. In turn, that will help you speed up the process of leaders building relationships with students.
Just like you, God has wired every parent with a specific purpose and gift. You will be able to do more effective ministry when you find out what a parent’s gift is and unleash them as a leader.
And the best part about having parents as leaders in your ministry?
It frees you up and allows you to spend more time investing in the lives of teenagers.
2. They Are An Extension Of You
There is only so much you can do in your limited time with students each week. That is why we have to rely on parents to continue your work and training at home. I could spend time trying to put the importance of this into words, but I believe Reggie Joiner says it best in Lead Small:
“No matter what you think about the parents of your few-conservative, liberal, strict, and laid-back alike- the reality is they have more influence than you do.”
What you say to your students every week matters. But how much more of an impact would we have if parents were driving those points home as well?
Parents spend hours upon hours with their students each week. It would be great if they spent some of that time discussing things that had eternal value.
In order to have parents as an extension of you, it’s going to take good communication and a great relationship between you and the parent.
3. They Are Great Supporters
Have you ever needed support? Have you ever needed someone on your side when you wanted to make some changes? Have you ever needed someone to pray for you? That’s where parents come in.
What I have found out is that when parents know your heart and your vision, they will almost always have your back.
Now, you will have to do your part. If parents have no idea what your vision is for the student ministry then they may have a hard time getting behind you. It’s up to you to make sure parents understand your heart and where God is leading the ministry.
God has truly blessed me with some great parents in my current position. I have parents who will take up for me (I hope), help me, and support any ideas that I throw at them. I wish I could say it has always been this way in our ministry, but that would be a lie. I had to take a long look at my priorities in student ministry a couple of years ago. I quickly realized that things would not change, and parents would not support me unless I took the time to build relationships with them.
The reality is that if you want to make any changes you are going to need a group of people who have your back.
The importance of parents supporting you and supporting your ministry cannot be overstated.
It’s easy to get so caught up in building relationships with students that we neglect the relationship with parents. When God called you into student ministry, he called you into ministering to students and their families.
We cannot afford to neglect the role that the parent relationship plays in effective student ministry.
About The Author: C.J. Smith
C.J. has been in student ministry for 9 years and in his current position for over 6 years. Currently, C.J. is serving as Student Pastor at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Rockingham, NC. He has been married to his wife, Amber, since May of 2010. They are huge Tennessee Volunteer fans and have a four year old son named Neylan. C.J. is a sports junkie who loves students!