I write a lot about parent partnerships. In fact, if you read my posts on a regular basis, you will know my favorite saying: "Good youth ministry is good ministry with parents." I can't say this enough. Parents should be of equal priority alongside of kids and leaders.
A revelation, however, dawned on me just this afternoon as I prepared to write this post. I write about how churches can reach out to parents and build healthy partnerships. I have outlined steps that churches may take in this process, including what questions that a Youth Pastor may ask her or his team to equip them for such an endeavor. Yet, I have never written — nor have I read anything — on the topic of what parents may ask the church in order to carve out this process for themselves.
A healthy parent partnership mean echoing the good words of a good Christian parent.
Parents, I want to offer you 5 questions for you to either ask me, if you and I work together, or your student's youth pastor that may enable a stronger, more reciprocal partnership between us. These questions will help both sides of this partnership carve out a healthier, more sustainable, and higher functioning partnership together… all for the sake of your child growing into a healthy, fun relationship with Jesus!
1. What are the 2-3 most significant characteristics about the youth ministry that every parent must know? How would you describe the youth ministry environment to a parent who does not attend the church?
2. For a youth pastor, a healthy parent partnership means echoing the good words of a good Christian parent. What concepts and language would assist you in undergirding our child's faith development at home?
3. What curriculum do you use? How do you teach it? What is the end goal of the curriculum? Who publishes it, and what is their theological bent? What criteria did you use in your decision making process to use this curriculum? Does it include a summary or implementation component for parents? Are there ways for me to integrate the teaching into the ethos of our home?
4. Does your ministry environment allow for my student to doubt, ask questions, and wrestle with faith? Are the leaders equipped to walk with my student through this process and bring him or her through the other side? Are these adult friendships monitored and held accountable? Are adult leaders background checked? Am I allowed to contact adult leaders and check in with my student, or should I only contact the youth pastor?
5. Will the youth ministry prepare my student to graduate from high school without graduating from faith? Is my student receiving a perspective of God that is big, adventurous, and faithful to the narrative of Scripture?
Parents, ask us these questions. Challenge and keep us motivated to continue to do good work with your student. Keep us in your prayers.
Question: What other ways might you prepare parents to engage with us in a partnership for the sake of their child? How would you prepare non-Christian parents for this process?