Parent Ministry and communication is a battle. No doubt about it.
The battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812 is one of the most famous battles in American history.
Perhaps one of the more overlooked facts about the battle is that it took place after the treaty ending the war had been agreed upon and signed.
Due to slow means of communication men on both sides lost life and limb in a battle they did not have to fight.
The war was over; they just didn’t know it yet.
Parent Ministry Communication is a vital part of ministry
We may not be dealing with a life and death situation when Billy misses the trip because he didn’t tell his parents about it until the night before.
However, we are probably in for an uncomfortable, no-win conversation with Billy’s parents.
With results ranging from temporary upset and disappointment to Billy’s family leaving the Church or crusading against you and your ministry personally.
This is a battle that never needs to be fought if we have good communication with youth parents.
Don’t misunderstand me good communication will not rid your life and ministry of all the ‘battles’.
That would be nice.
It will however help you to avoid battles caused by miscommunication and/or missing communication.
So how can we effectively communicate with the youth parents?
Let me give you four simple things you can do.
1) Create a Parent Ministry Newsletter Every month
We send out the NETMA (Nobody Ever Tells Me Anything) a newsletter with upcoming events, recent snapshots, a personal note from me and a short devotional.
I stole this idea from a youth pastor friend and mentor of mine Steve Coleman.
The newsletter is a four page spread (2 pages front and back).
We hang the original color copy on our youth bulletin board by my office.
While black and white copies of the newsletter get mailed to the parents.
We have recently started making PDF versions available for downloading via Facebook as well.
It takes a couple of hours to get put together but it is well worth the time and effort.
2) Create a Parent Ministry Calendar Along with the NETMA every month
We send out the “Refrigerator Door” (Also stolen from Steve).
This is a monthly calendar that has youth specific events and weekly meetings that coincide with the information in the NETMA.
As suggested in the name this is intended to be placed on the refrigerator or other prominent place to keep the months events in mind.
3) Create a Facebook Group
Most of the parents I am trying to communicate with are on Facebook.
So we created a Facebook group for our youth ministry.
All of the youth and their parents are invited to join the group and most of them have.
We use the group to share upcoming events, photos, to ask and answer questions etc.
The group is open so the youth or their parents can add other youth or parents to the group.
So on top of being a great means for communication it is also good resource for outreach.
This is where we post the downloadable PDF versions of the NETMA, Refrigerator Door and our Prayer Calendar.
4) Have a meeting with youth parents
Our calendar is laid out for the upcoming year in November.
So as the New Year is beginning we schedule a meeting with the parents to go over the planned events for the year.
We give the parents a handout with a planned monthly breakdown.
Then we open the floor for any questions, comments, or suggestions as we go through the plan.
Our calendar is not all set in stone and things get rearranged, added, and canceled as the year progresses.
But the meeting allows parents to be informed so they can plan vacations around bigger youth events and be prepared for any financial commitment like trips or retreats.
A word to the wise: Make sure you are well prepared for the meeting so you start the year off on a good note.
Well informed parents tend to be happier parents.
We have found that by integrating these things into our ministry that we can spend more time on ministry and less time fighting ‘battles’ we didn’t need to fight.
I hope you will find them helpful in your parent ministry as well.
There are many ways that we can communicate with youth and parents.
I hope you will take the time to share some things that have worked well for you in a comment below.
Feel free to comment with any questions on the above article too.
In your parent ministry – what has worked and not worked for you when communicating with parents?