Partnering with parents should be one of the jobs of a student pastor. When I look at my personal philosophy of student ministry I see three major objectives that I feel I have been called to do: Biblical teaching, training leaders, and equipping parents. Student pastors need to remember that God has called us to not just minister to students, but to their parents as well. Their parents are the ones who are responsible for their child’s spiritual growth and we need to equip and partner with them in pointing their student to Jesus. But practically speaking, how does a student pastor partner with parents? It sounds good and all, but how do we do that? Here are a few practical ways student pastors can partner with parents:
Communication. I’ve heard it said that the main thing parents expect and want from their students student pastor is communication. Parents don’t like to be left in the dark. They want to know what your teaching, when the next event is, or how much something is going to cost. I strive to over communicate to our parents. Most of them probably get tired of my emails, but I want them to be overly informed in what is going on in our ministry. During the school year I send out a weekly parent email that covers what we are teaching that week, what events are coming up, and a parent resource (more on that later). However you decide to do it, communicate clearly and effectively to your parents.
Build Relationships. Don’t just send emails to your parents, get to know them! Take them out to lunch or dinner from time to time. Don’t wait until their student screws up and you need to talk about it, take them out just for the enjoyment of getting to know them better. One of my favorite things to do in student ministry is hanging out with my students parents. My students probably think this is weird because to them parents are old and boring, but I love it!
Resource Them. Be intentional about finding resources for your parents. Point them to websites such as CPYU, Homeward, and Plugged In. Share with them books about parenting that you have ran across online or at conferences. Hold parent seminars that share with parents vital information about things in youth culture. Most parents don’t know where to find good resources on parenting so help them out.
Serve There Student Well. As I said above, parents are the ones responsible for their child’s spiritual growth. As student pastors we get to partner with them in the journey of pointing their student to Jesus. Don’t take this task lightly, work hard and strive to serve their student well. Teach their student God’s Word, help them apply it to their lives, give them opportunities to serve, and train them to be missionaries in their culture. Partner with parents by being the best student pastor you can be!
These are just a few practical ways student pastors can partner with parents. On a side note, if you are a young student pastor don’t let partnering with parents scare you. They may think your too young to be a “real pastor,” but show parents your serious about this and this is God’s calling on your life. I’ve shared a few thoughts in a past post about how young student pastors can partner with parents (click here to view that post).