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Back to School: Meet the Parents

So the teenagers are heading back to school.  Maybe your office will finally get cleaned now.  After making your trip to Goodwill with all the unclaimed junk left over from camp, consider spending the first few weeks of school making contact with moms and dads.

Youth Ministry Back to School

School starts and we’re nursing kick-off weeks and asking kids about their first few days of classes – But just as their routines are all new, so are Mom’s and Dad’s.  So seize that opportunity:

  1. Write a note to every parent.  “Hey Mr. Jackson:  Praying for Michael as he heads back to school this week.  Praying for you, too.  Let me know if I can pray for something specific!”  ~darren Continue Reading…

15 Ways To Partner With Parents In Your Youth Ministry: The Final 5…

In my previous two posts we covered 10 ways in which you and I can partner with parents effectively. Before we jump into the final 5, let’s recap the importance of partnering with parents in youth ministry:

In we read:

“No one has more potential to influence a child’s relationship with God than a parent… No one has more potential to influence the parent than the church… The church’s potential to influence a child dramatically increases when it partners with a parent.”

Orange Light Bulb1

Therefore, if you and I want to invest and influence a students faith, it’s imperative that we seek ways to support, equip, and effectively partner with parents. After all, they have been with their kids a lot longer than we have. They spend more time with their kids than we do. And they will continue to influence their kids well after they have graduated…

Here are the final 5 ways you and I can partner with parents. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments too!!!

11. Model Healthy Family. In Philippians 4:9 Paul states,

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Not only did this great man of God get to teach the scriptures, cast vision, and lead his people, he did life together with them in the city of Philippi. The Philippians got to see first hand how he lived his life and modeled Christ to them. Families are looking for authentic leaders (who don’t have to have it all together), who are earnestly seeking the best for their families. If we truly want to partner with parents, it’s imperative that what we say and teach is backed up by a model of what healthy family. No one expects us to be perfect, but they need us to lead as we put our family first…

12. Create Parent / Student Events. We know that adolescents don’t always want mom and dad around don’t we? However, there are certain strategic times where we can create an event to bring students and parents together. A number of years ago in a previous ministry, we had students make and serve dinner with their parents. While the idea wasn’t rocket science, it was amazing to see how impactful it was for the students to serve their parents. What is more, we got to meet many parents from fringe kids and begin to develop relationships from that point on. Consider what events would be a win for parents and students?

13. Recruit Parents for Youth Ministry. This can be awkward depending on the family and the dynamics of the parent / student relationship. But, some of my best youth leaders and small group leaders have been parents. (Remember, somebody else’s parents are always cooler to talk to). Here’s some guidelines however:

  • Ensure the student is good with their mom / dad being there. Review this from year to year since the parent / student relationship can change
  • Avoid having the parent / student in the same small group
  • Instruct the parent that they are “not allowed to parent” at youth group
  • Don’t allow parents to get involved in drama that involves their student
  • Don’t recruit parents who want to “check up” on their student

While involving parents can be a little messy, good boundaries and expectations can help it to be a win for students and parents. Again, some of your best leaders will be parents of students…

14. Train Volunteers to Partner with Parents. Have you ever considered the impact of partnering with parents if your volunteers were to invest and partner with parents too? Just as we rely on great volunteers to reach every student in our ministry, we also need them to partner with parents too. If your volunteers can catch the vision and take their time to invest in relationships with parents, the impact on the student will be far greater than just you and I.

15. See Potential In EVERY Parent. This is the final, but perhaps the most important way you and I can partner with parents… For years I have heard youth workers complain about parents. The truth is, there are no perfect parents and you and I will never be either. But here is a great reality for you and I:

When we look for potential instead of perfection, God opens our eyes to greater ways in which we can partner with parents.

Well, there you go! That about rounds up the 15 for you. But, let’s not stop there. Please weigh in and add your ideas and comments below! 

Phil <><


photo credit: via

15 Ways To Partner With Parents In Your Youth Ministry: The Next 5…

In my previous post I talked about ways in which you and I can partner with parents in our youth ministries. While you are called to youth ministry, it’s imperative that you adopt a approach (or whatever you want to call it), as we look to partner with parents. After all, the influence of parents on their kids is far greater than the influence you can have given the limited time you will have with them each week…

The two influences of family and church come together to make a greater impact on students. Therefore, it’s essential we find ways to partner with parents as they raise their kids. Helping Parents Our Problem: Although you may already agree with this philosophy of ministry, if you are like me, there have been times when I have been unsure as to how to implement a strategy to partner with families. In this post we continue to look at the next 5 of 15 practical ways you can implement a strategy to partner with parents. Some are not rocket science, while some will challenge you… Continue Reading…

15 Ways To Partner With Parents In Your Youth Ministry: The First 5…

Partnering with parents in youth ministry is absolutely essential. When I speak to youth workers, usually we agree that partnering with the family is far more effective than living in a silo youth ministry that only focuses on the students.

But the problems is this: While most of us agree that partnering with parents is essential, many of us don’t know where to start practically…

Partnering with Parents

In the book, he makes a great case for using our time and resources to support parents. Each year the average youth ministry will have approximately 40 hours of teachable time with students, while parents will have approximately 3000 hours of teachable time with them. It makes simple sense to support parents and partner with them as they raise their kids…

But what can this look like practically?

In the next few posts, I will list 15 ways in which we can effectively partner with parents. Some ideas are easy to implement, while others will take a change of culture in your church. Continue Reading…

Part 4: FREE Training Video: Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry – Dealing with Angry Parents

I remember the first time a parent called and yelled at me.  No I mean literally,  came through the phone and almost strangled me.  It threw me off guard and I had no real idea on how to respond.  This video walks us through the process of how to deal well with that angry parent and how to reach out to them with integrity.

Here’s our final video this week. To check out the rest of these videos and more, go to our


Talking to Angry Parents Discussion Notes

  • What is one thing you can do to diffuse an angry parent?
  • How can your team get involved with talking to parents when they get angry?


Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry: FREE Training Video – Part 1: First Thoughts

Today, is the first of 4 videos focused on partnering with parents in youth ministry. These short videos are a free resource for you and your team to watch.

Below the video is a downloadable worksheet with discussion questions and ideas to talk about about. In addition, below that, there’s a short post to give you even more to think about…

4 video posts = 4 days of free training for you and your team. Enjoy!

Continue Reading…

Inside The Teenage Brain Webinar With Mark Oestreicher

Our friends at are putting together another brilliant webinar! Let Mark Oestreicher take you “Inside the Teenage Brain” on February 26 at 2pm (central) FREE WEBINAR-

Ministering to Parents Webinar with Dr. Jim Burns

Last weekend I attended a ‘Confident Parenting Seminar’ with Dr. Jim Burns here locally in Michigan. I have known Jim for 12 years and I know him to be a brilliant guy, great communicator, incredibly knowledgable, and wonderfully authentic.

I am super excited to tell you about an upcoming webinar provided when Jim will be presenting on ‘Ministering to Parents’.

As someone who has been in youth ministry a long time, I wished I had figured out the importance and skils of partnering with parents years before I did. This webinar lasts for an hour, is completely FREE, and will be one of the best investments you can make on January 24th at 10am CST.

Are you planning to go? Let me know. 

Phil <><


Websites To Recommend Parents of Teenagers In Your Youth Ministry

Yesterday a ministry friend asked me what websites I recommend to parents of teenagers in my youth ministry. Initially, a couple came to mind, but I only had a few… After asking a few more friends in ministry and sleeping on it, I realized there are some really good websites that you and I can talk to parents about. In fact, as youth workers, it should be our goal to partner with parents and resource them well in this way.

Youth Ministry Parents

A healthy youth ministry partners with parents, communicates regularly with parents, and resources parents.

Here’s a list of websites. I have looked through many of their pages, but cannot endorse every single thing they say. As you recommend resources and websites to your parents, make sure to tell them the same…

  • The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding - 
  • Homeword Center for Youth and Family - 
  • Parent Ministry - 

UPDATE: For a great podcast for parents, check out 

Again, check these sites out for yourself. Feel free to forward this list to others. AND, feel free to comment with additions. I am sure there are some other great ones out there…

Phil <><

photo credit: via

Youth Ministry Realities: Now That I’m a Parent…I’m Sorry…

Retrospect sucks.

I am 43 years old.  I have been in youth ministry since I was 19.  I finally have teenagers of my own…sixteen, fourteen, and twelve year old sons.  Looking back at some of the decisions I made as a pre-parent of a teenager, I am horrified!

And I am sorry….

…for the time I said ‘orgasm’ from the pulpit in big church. I apologize.  Even though we were deep in the throes of ‘True Love Waits’, I now realize that maybe that would be a word you would like to introduce to your children.  I’m sorry I probably brought questions to roost before you (or they) were ready for them.  I know I would want to be the person introducing the ‘particulars’ of sex to my own teenagers. Continue Reading…

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