It might be a safe guess that you feel unsure about how to partner with parents. Maybe you feel like your church is too small to partner with parents, or maybe your church is too large.

Regardless of your anxieties, when you’re partnering with parents it’s perfectly fine to start small.

Engaging parents can be one of the most important things you do within your small group. Parents may not automatically assume you’re on their team. (Believe it or not, some people send more time critiquing parents than helping them.) But with time and consistent effort, they will believe you are on their side.

Here’s the deal: No matter how big or small your church is and no matter how much knowledge you have or don’t have, partnering with parents can be simple.

You don’t have to have a certain program or a particular curriculum in order to start partnering with parents. In fact, you have probably already started the process. If you have introduced yourself to a parent, congratulations, you are now partnering with parents.

Starting small may be the biggest win for your ministry in this process. Here are 4 simple ways you can partner with parents:

  1. Introduce yourself! If parents don’t know who you are, then you can’t be on their team. Make it a point to introduce yourself to the parents of the kids in your group. They want to know who is influencing their student. (If you are a youth pastor, seize opportunities to introduce your SGLs to the parents, and create opportunities for them to be in the same place at the same time.)
  2. Brag to the parents about their kid. Tell parents about how great their son is. Tell them something cool that their daughter did in group! Look for ways to encourage parents that you’ve noticed their kid is great!
  3. Show up on social media. Guess who else probably has Facebook? And most likely an instagram? The parents of your few. After you’ve introduced yourself (so they aren’t creeped out by your random friend request) find them online so you they have a clear path to you and you can get a glimpse into the lives of your few through their parents. (PS- this is also why it’s important for YOU to be wise on social media, friend.)
  4. Show up at events. Games, recitals, plays, etc. If a student invites you, go! Make it a point, while there, to sit with or have a conversation with the parents.

All four of these things can be done without much extra time and with minimal extra effort. So make a point to partner with parents whenever you can, because the reality is that you don’t spend every day with your few. Their parents will have lifelong influence, and when you build a bridge with parents, you can have more influence, too.

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Johnathan Baldwin

Johnathan is a student ministries pastor from Indiana who loves youth ministry, sports, summertime, great coffee (depending on the situation, not so great coffee works too), my dog (Marcie), and as of lately a good book. Over the past couple years, Johnathan has felt a growing passion for guiding and empowering leaders to lead students. He believes that if we call people to greatness, they will achieve greatness.

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