Using Parents as Parents As Youth Leaders. Does the sound of that idea make you quake in your Vans?
It doesn’t have to. Parent volunteers can be our allies, our trusted group of faithful, hard-working ministers whom we link arms with. There are many reasons why having parents as youth ministry volunteers is a good idea. I wrote a short post a few weeks ago to parents and have had some great responses and reactions. I wanted to expand on those ideas specifically to youth workers with a TOP TEN BEST REASONS for inviting parents onto your youth ministry team.
An adult that is a parent can be more mature. Parenting and having children have a way of maturing you (whether you want it to or not). That maturity can be very helpful in a youth ministry setting.
There is a balance in youth ministry between having fun with students and having serious conversations. Parents can understand that and can be mature enough to find that perfect balance as a leader, just like they often do at home with their own children.
In sensitive and challenging situations, parent-leaders often have the maturity not to respond immaturely or in a way that will cause hurt.
9. Life Experience
A parent adds life experience to the youth ministry you lead and conversations and teaching. Parenting offers a wealth of experiences and life lessons. A parent-leader can share the things they have learned in life with discernment and depth that only comes through living life.
8. Relationships with Other Parents
The right parent as a leader can be your greatest defender and communicator. With a parent-leader, you have an adult armed with the knowledge of all the good stuff in your ministry, and they take that into their circle of influence with other parents. Parents are more likely to listen to another parent.
Having a parent as a leader also puts other parents at ease. If they know and trust the parent leading in your ministry, your ministry earns additional trust.
7. Time Management
Parents are often better managers of time because, well, they’re parents, and they’re already juggling multiple schedules. Parents have learned time management and organization with music, sports, school, and their own careers. Busy ministry programs, retreat schedules, or event agendas can be easily handled by parents that are used to packed agendas and time crunches.
Parents often come to you already trained. Whether it be from a work setting, another ministry, or another way. Parents arrive on your team already prepared with the tools to be great leaders.
Leader training is still essential and needed. Learning how to lead a small group or guide a discussion is essential. Parents come in already with a clue because they are used to guiding and redirecting conversations at home or leading a small group discussion in a work setting.
Being a parent often means that others rely on you- children, spouse, and regular jobs to pay the bills. Because of this, parents can be more reliable. They’re often familiar with living up to others’ expectations, so living up to the requirements of your youth ministry will be second nature to them.
Nothing is more frustrating than having leaders not show up with no explanation, excuse, or communication. You rely on them for an event, project, or weekly gathering, but the leader does not show.
Parents who are leaders can be the most reliable and dependable because they already are.
Parents often have resources you don’t know about or might have never thought of. They have work connections, local connections, and the inside scoop on all kinds of things. They can be a wealth of information and be a “go-to” finding last-minute resources and help. Parents, especially those who have grown up in an area, know who to call that is not listed in the phone book. They may know who has what you are looking for, sitting in the back of a garage or storage. Youth ministry is all about last-minute needs and flexibility, and parents can be a source of emergency helps.
Parents can be patient sometimes. Not all parents are patient, but as a parent, you learn the life skill of being patient with silly actions, dumb questions, and just plain annoying little people. Parenting often has a way of teaching and testing patience, especially during the toddler years and again in the middle school years.
Parents often come into your ministry already tested about how to be patient with things that non-parents may not be able to handle.
Our ministry to teens and young teens needs to be seasoned with grace, patience, and the spiritual fruit of long-suffering. Parents can bring those need spiritual gifts to your ministry
Parents can come to your ministry already pre-loaded with an element of respect. They are parents, so automatically, they get respect from students. Parents can pull out their “Mom-Voice” or the “Dad-Look” if needed, immediately bringing a sense of authority. Parent involvement often brings both trust and respect. Respected parents can bring respect from church members, other parents, and even students.
Father knows best, and Mom always said…Parents can bring to your ministry more than knowledge and understanding. They bring wisdom. They bring wise discernment, years of experience, and often, a level head. ________________________________
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