Involving Parents in Youth Ministry

By Nick Tomeo, CCU Youth Ministry Professor.

We have all heard this before: family ministry is where it is at. Team up with parents and develop a family friendly youth ministry.

While these thoughts should shape the mindset and focus of youth ministers, the truthful youth /student minister will admit that making student ministry more family friendly is not always the easiest thing to do. One element of “family friendly” youth ministry is parental involvement.
How does one get parents to become more involved with youth ministry?

In a study conducted by Deslandes and Bertrand in 2005, the researchers tried to determine what most encouraged parents to get involved with their children’s school and schoolwork. After studying 770 parents of adolescents they found that parents would become more involved in what their teenagers were doing in school if their child invited them to get involved, if the parents felt they could be a help to the process, and if the teacher invited them to get involved.

Applying these results to youth ministry would compel the wise youth minister to try to involve the parents. See if the parents of your students would allow some youth group activity to be done at their house. Ask parents to help with the food for various events. Another simple idea to encourage parental involvement: send a thoughtful question home with kids for next week’s lesson (i.e. if the next session is a lesson on Dating. Have the students ask their parents how they met, then bring the answers back to youth group next week.).

Also, develop parent-student events; invite & remind kids to invite the parents to the event And constantly communicate, whether it’s Youth Ministry events, the good their child does, or adolescent development and culture facts.

There are many other things one can do to promote a family enriched youth ministry. Parent involvement is just one method. But it is a piece required to becoming more family friendly youth ministry.

For more information on “Family Friendly Youth Ministry” come to the Youth Ministry Summit and hear Mark Devries speak on the issue.

Deslandes, Rollande & Bertrand, Richard. (2005). Motivation of Parent Involvement in Secondary-Level Schooling. The Journal of Educational Research 98(3), 164-175.