As an SGL, partnering with parents is necessary but extremely difficult. You know what I am talking about? Of course you do. The parents of your few are busy. Research shows that parents now spend 40% less time with their student than they did 30 years ago. Not only are parents spending less time with their kid they are spending way less time with their kid’s SGL.

Regardless of a parent’s baggage, brokenness and business, every parent wants to be a better parent. Every parent cares.

That’s why we, as SGLs need to believe and act as if every parent wants to connect with their child’s SGL. As an SGL you have a unique angle in a teen’s life that a parent may never see without a connection to YOU. And that parent has a unique level of influence in a child’s life that you may never reach. So disregard the busy schedules. Don’t let the silence discourage you. Be the first to take a step and build that crucial parent connection. Because with your forces combined, you just might be able to overcome the hectic nature of life to make a lasting impression on the lives of your few.

Here are 5 easy and simple ways to help establish your parent connection:

(5) Commit to praying for the parents of your few. This is so easy to do, but unfortunately just as easy to overlook. Simply pray for your few and their families. Nothing fancy just a quick prayer for the well being of the whole family.

(4) Get to know the parents of your few. Small group leaders need to know parents as people, not just the parents of their few. Show up randomly and periodically with your parents like you would with your students. If a dad wants to meet at 5am. Do it. And dress accordingly.

(3) Communicate, communicate, communicate. Communication is key. Communication in multiple mediums is even better. Text. Call. Email. Have a short chat before or after small group. Can’t think of anything to say? Whenever communicating with parents do at least one of three things: inform, equip, encourage.

(2) Be seen. Be seen on Sunday morning. Be seen either before, during or after church service. On Sunday mornings parents are on your own turf, so expect to use a good chunk of your time connecting with parents. Be seen after youth group. Go into the parking lot and greet parents as they are picking up their kids. Be seen in the community i.e. sporting events, grocery store, coffee shops, mall, etc. And don’t hesitate to run over for a quick chat.

(1) Get parents early. Connect with parents right when their kid enters your small group. Get parents in the elementary to middle school transition. And get parents in the middle school to high school transition. A parent is very open to connect with their church leader when their kid is moving into a new phase of life.

Parents need a connection with a trustworthy adult who knows their child. SGLs need the influence built by the parent over many years. Don’t miss the opportunity to join forces for the lasting impact on the lives of your few!

How have you connected with the parents of your few?

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Jeremy holds a B.A. in Communication from University of Minnesota as well as a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has a passion for connecting with and learning from student pastors, deliberatively researching, reading, and blogging about student ministry and family ministry, dabbling with online technology and experimenting in ministry lifestyle design and productivity in the church. Jeremy and his wife, Mikaela, live in Alpharetta, Georgia, where he serves as an Orange Specialist with the XP3 Student team.

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