I was recently doing some writing on the topic of Middle School Ministry parents...what parents need, how to best minister to them, how to get them on board etc. Here are a few random tid-bits from that writing session.
- The key to getting parents "on board": Earn their trust.
When parents trust you and your ministry, it is as if you can do no wrong. When they don't trust you, it is as if you can do no right. Trust is often earned in the littlest of things such as getting home from trips on time, not changing dates and prices of events, making sure there is plenty of supervision at activities, communicating regularly with them and allowing them to have a "voice" in your ministry.
- One thing parents secretly think about jr. high youth workers: "If you haven't raised a young teen, you don't know squat."
They know that you understand youth culture and that you are an expert on adolescent development and that their child respects you etc. But deep down they also know that until you have a junior higher living under your roof 24/7 and until you experience your own flesh and blood going through the angst of early adolescence, you really don't understand the plight of parents.
- What do most parents need? Hope and Help.
That's it...just a little bit of hope and encouragement thrown their way. Reminders that they aren't the only ones struggling, that they will live through this, that much of what is happening is totally natural etc. Just a little hope. And a little help. A book sent to them in the mail, an email with a link to an article, getting connected with another couple who has already raised young teens for some support. As a youth worker, you don't need to have all the answers, and you can't fix all the ills the parents of your students face. But you can provide a little hope and a little help.