Posts tagged communication
Posts tagged communication
Last night my student ministries team and I began to design a new 3-week series that we are starting on May 8th entitled “How To Raise Your Parents”. We have some great ideas that we have come up with and I’ll be sure to share some of those with the iheartyouthminsitry.com community soon (I’ll post up some cool game ideas, videos, backgrounds, bumpers, etc.), but it got me thinking about the importance of partnering with the parents of the students in our youth ministries. Parents are vital to the spiritual growth of the students in our ministries but unfortunately, if we are all honest, we probably do a much better job communicating with students then we do with parents.
So how can we create a more open line of communication with the parents in our ministries? Here are a few helpful hints:
1) When in doubt…let them know! I don’t think I’ve ever met a parent who has complained to me saying “please stop giving me information about what my kids are up to! I don’t want to know when events are happening! Please stop being so informative!”. In fact, most of the time the exact opposite is true. As youth workers we can get so caught up in hanging out with students and planning great programs/events/services that we forget to inform the parents! Some easy ways to keep parents “in the know” can be:
-weekly (or bi-weekly) email updates letting parents know what is coming up the following weekend.
-create a parent’s blog on your existing website. Keep it updated with upcoming events, calendars, etc.
-provide summer/spring/winter/fall calendars for parents. Trust me THEY NEED THEM!
-host a parent connect night twice a year for parents to meet you and your volunteers, learn about the purpose of your youth ministry and have the opportunity to ask you questions that may come up regarding their students.
2) Get parents involved! Invite some of your student’s parents to help run a student small group (not their own kid’s) or be a weekend volunteer. Invite a parent or two to help plan an event/retreat. Trust me, if you allow a few parents to be a part of your ministry they will soon become your biggest cheerleaders to the rest of the church!
3) Urge your parents to pray for your youth ministry! Make the ask to your student’s parents to pray constantly for your youth ministry. Share with parents your vision for their students spiritual growth and let them play an integral part in praying for God to transform their teens.
There are a TON of different ways for you to have healthy communication between your youth ministry and parents and I’m sure some of you know much more than I do! Share some of your thoughts/ideas about how you communicate well with the parents in your ministries. Leave a comment below and let’s work together to bridge the gap between youth ministry and family!
The main reason that I have heard from other youth ministers for not being on Facebook is “I tried it, but I saw crazy things about my youth, and so I deleted it.”
First of all, I think that deleting something because you saw too much is a bad excuse to delete. First of all, your youth need you there to remind them that they need to be civil no matter where they are. Social Profiles have been testing grounds for youth personality and identity for a while and you are a part of that process. By being a presence (and yes, doing the messy “I can’t believe you said that” conversations, you help teens integrate their online morality with their real world morality. You help them integrate all the different codes they maintain, and actually help them have less stress in their lives. Unfortunately not less stress for you, but that is what you signed up for. Get tough skin and jump back in.
Benefits of successful integration into your youth’s social network:
(A) You can promote events easily.
(B) You can plan events online through groups.
(C) Your youth talk with you, and you can do less home calls (I love that one).
(D) Kids start texting you after a while (and you know you’re loved then!)
(E) You see what their interests are and who they hang out with by what they “like” and comment on.
Ultimately, Facebook is a great communication tool when used right. Learn proper social network etiquette and teach it to your youth by role modeling it. Call them out in love (in a private message) when their out of hand, and be a presence for Good and represent the Kingdom of God online! It takes time and some sweat equity, but it is rewarding when it begins working right.