Training leaders is one key element in ministry leadership. This month, M2P focuses on TRAINING as a part of Build a Parent Ministry Plan in the M2P Roadmap. As church bodies gather virtually, use this time to learn, empower, and educate your volunteers online. We start the conversation with a question, why should small group leaders care about parents?
Why Should Small Group Leaders Care About Parents?
When I started in ministry more than 15 years ago, I did not view parents as I do today. Back then, parents were a vehicle for my students to get to church or youth group. Parents earned the money that paid for students to spend time with the church, their peers, and the youth pastor (me). I did not see the benefit nor the calling to minister to the parents of my students and equip them to disciple their kids—which means I didn’t teach my volunteers or small group leaders, either.
My perspective has completely changed. Parents are essential partners in ministry. I need to cultivate and focus on those relationships and encourage my volunteers and leaders to do so, as well.
Today I want to answer the important question, “Why should small group leaders care about parents?”
There are at least three benefits when your small group leaders care and build relationships with parents.
A Better Small Group Connection
Knowing parents will help your leaders better connect to the students in their small group. If a small group leader emails, calls, or texts the parents at the beginning of each year, several things will happen.
1. The parent will know who is leading the group each week.
2. The parent will have a direct line of communication with the small group leader.
3. The parent will know that the leader cares for their child.
These three factors will help the leader have a better small group and a stronger relationship with their students. When parents know the leader cares about their child, it establishes trust. A clear understanding of the communication pathway enables them to ask questions about the ministry and to communicate about their child. As a result, they are likely to encourage their student to be involved and committed. When leaders can share their heart to parents, it makes their small group better!
If small group leaders make connections and regularly communicate with the parents of students, they will gain influence. This influence will allow them to promote ministry programming and vision and provide an avenue to share needs.
It can be a struggle to get students on board with a new idea or to have parents share the vision of the ministry. When small group leaders develop a communication pathway to parents, they can use it to share upcoming events, ministry focus, and overall vision. This flow of communication strengthens your ministry, so use your leaders to help pass information!
We know that students are not forthcoming with information about struggles or needs. You also can’t minister to unknown needs. However, if there is an established communication between parents and leaders, parents are more likely to share needs or prayer requests about their student. The relationship creates a fantastic opportunity to meet students and families in the places where they need it most.
Let’s face it! We are all still growing in our relationships with Jesus. Your small group leaders are no different. If your small group leader base looks like mine, it’s full of a variety of ages and life stages. When a young single guy calls the dad of a high school student, they have the opportunity to form a friendship. Through that connection, discipleship is possible, even in an informal, organic way. When a retired lady with three adult children calls the single mom of a girl in her small group, great things can happen!
As ministry leaders, we need to encourage our volunteers and leaders to connect to parents! Ultimately, parents spend the overwhelming majority of the time with their student. Instead of seeing parents as “people we have to deal with,” we need to see them as partners in the discipleship of our students! Our small group leaders should learn to care—and connect—with parents. When they do so, the benefits extend to everyone involved.
Tony Bianco has been in Student Ministry for over ten years with his wife Diamend with whom they have two amazing kids. He is a former Radio DJ, Technology Reviewer, GameStop Manager, Apple Store Expert, and the author of The Family Technology Plan. You can contact Tony at www.familytechnologyplan.com.
For more on how to build a parent ministry:
M2P Members, pick up this month’s Training Resource in the DASHBOARD!
What Is It?
10 Parent Personalities is a training exercise for ministry volunteers to help them understand and engage the different types of parents, such as Outgoing Olivia or Know-It-All Natalie. Your leaders learn:
- Different Types of Parents’ Personalities
- The Value of Each One
- The Challenge
- Advice on How to Relate
Interested in M2P Member? Check it out HERE.