When it comes to student ministry, I have a three-part philosophy: Biblical teaching, training leaders, and equipping parents. Biblical teaching is what I do with the students. Training leaders is what I do with my volunteers. Equipping parents is what I do in regards to, well, my students’ parents.
Recently, I was asked about the third part of my philosophy. The question went something like this:
How will you partner with parents when you are a young adult, just married, and without kids of your own?
It was an honest question that many churches, and most parents, will ask a young student pastor. How will you partner with me as a parent and help me when you’re still young and know nothing about parenting yourself? As I thought through that question, I came up with a few ways even young student pastors can partner with parents. Here are a few thoughts on how we can come alongside parents and help them fulfill their God-given job at pointing their children to Christ.
Build a relationship with them. No matter what your age, marital status, or if you have children or not, you can always build a relationship with your students’ parents. Many of the parents of your students only know you through their child. Put yourself out there and get to know them yourself. Invite them over for a meal or hangout with them at one of their child’s sporting events. The first step a young student pastor can take in partnering with parents is simply to build a relationship with them.
Encourage them. After you have built a relationship with them, encourage them. Many parents are exhausted, stressed, and worried about their children. Go out of your way to encourage them. Point out what they are doing well, and see if maybe you could offer any support in areas they are not doing so well. One of the best ways to partner with the parents of your students is to encourage them every chance you get.
Give them resources. The best way you can partner with parents is share with them practical resources that will help them point their child to Christ. Because you’re a student pastor, you have opportunity to get your hands on some great resources for parents. Many parents will never pick up any of these resources themselves, so make it part of your ministry to share the resources with them. There are countless books, websites, and training materials your parents would benefit from if you would just get them into their hands. No matter what your age is, you can always share resources with the parents.
These are just a few of the ways you can partner with parents even if you’re a young student pastor. Don’t let your age keep you back from coming alongside of the parents and helping them. Their children’s spiritual life is at stake; help them point their child towards Christ.
[Question] How do you partner with parents as a young or older student pastor?