Parents have an incredible influence on their children. A parent’s opinion, acceptance, belief in, and encouragement can impact their kids for a lifetime.
“It has been said that as goes the family, so goes the world. It can also be said that as goes the father, so goes the family.”- Voddie T. Baucham Jr.
Since parents are the most impactful people in the life of a young person, how can we do a better job at ministering to those parents who are outside of the church walls? The key, like anything else we do, is to be intentional. Here are six things that you can do to make an impact in those parents’ lives and open opportunities for you to have Gospel conversations with them.
1. Gather their information
It seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re running a bus ministry or having parents drop their kids off, you want to gather their information. Doing so helps you learn their names and engage with them on a personal level. By having their information, you can invite them to different events the church is doing. This could include a Thanksgiving meal, Christmas service, and Easter services.
2. Arrive at youth group early
Sometimes parents will just drop their students off at the church and never step foot into the building. If you can be there early and be all set up for the youth group, step outside into the parking lot and look for a chance to talk to them right at their car.
3. Use the parent connections
Word of life has great resources in our “Parent Connection” with each lesson. Use those to further conversations. Text parents during the week and ask if they got to look at it and if they have any questions. Another great source to look at is AXIS.ORG. They have great content for parents. Being a resource for them on cultural issues can give you opportunities to speak the truth.
4. Praise their kids
When someone comes to me and says, “I need to tell you what your son did”. My first instinct is to cringe a little bit. There is no telling what’s going to come out of an attention-seeking 10-year-old. However, when it’s followed up by telling me that they were a help in class or took time to befriend a new student, it makes me proud. Parents want to feel proud of their kids. Find something to praise the student about, and it will give you more opportunities to talk to the parents.
5. Use social media
You’ll be amazed at how much stuff people put on social media. Use that to your advantage. Send parents a friend request and then comment on their posts (in an appropriate amount). This helps you remember their names and lets you know if there are needs that the church could meet.
6. Greet them in public
Go to the students’ band concerts, sporting events, plays, or whatever else they are involved in. Chances are, you will run into a parent. This will give you another opportunity to tell them how much you appreciate their child. To do this effectively, you will need to learn the parents’ names, which takes discipline and repetition.
The goal is that these six things will lead to more opportunities to share the gospel and impact the lives of these parents for eternity. Be praying for open doors. The best thing you could do for a student is to help them reach their parents for Christ.
Brett is a Word of Life Youth Ministry Coach in North Georgia and Southeast Tennessee. He and his wife Jenni have been blessed with 3 awesome kids and love doing ministry together.