With Christmas break in full swing I have had time to sit and think about this past year of ministry and few huge things I have picked up. One them being, the importance of partnering with parents in youth ministry. I used to be fearful of parents when it came to mixing them in with the ministry I was a part of, I'm not sure why. I sort of had this paranoia or "parentnoia" when it came to spending time with them. I was afraid of what they would think about me and the ministry I was doing. I would worry about being judged by them or that they would think I wasn't doing a good job. In some extreme cases I felt like they were trying to get me fired. I chalk this all up to being young and insecure. I can confidently say that I no longer have those feelings when it comes to parents of students I get to work with. They are the complete opposite. I have come to be these parents’ biggest cheerleader, realizing that we are on the same team. We both want their Jr. High student to mature, grow in their own faith and really understand who Jesus Christ is in their life.
One of the ways we like to get the parents involved in the ministry is by inviting them be a part of our services. We have a "Parents Night" where students are encouraged to bring Mom and Dad with them to our mid-week program. This is a night where the parents experience youth group, not just sit in the back and watch their students. We try to get them involved in the game (think of the newlywed game only with parents and their son or daughter). We invite them to be a part of worship and listen in on the lesson for the night (it always makes me a little nervous, seeing how I am the one teaching). We also invite them to our Christmas party Lip-Sync so they can see how talented their students are. There are always tons of laughs and plenty of cookies to go around. I have come to truly appreciate the parents of our students, they are encouraging and inspiring.