Every fall, right before we kick off our youth ministry year. I started off with a couple things. I always seek to have a time of fellowship and training with all my leaders. This is a time of connection, development but also to lay out what the expectations are for being a leader in our ministry. They are the guidelines, requirements and standards for leadership with in our ministry.
The second things I do shortly after that is a parent dessert and meeting. This meeting includes a time of introduction to our ministry, an explanation of our multi-year scope and sequence of teaching, and information about our “student expectations”. Some might call these the rule, and you would be correct in identifying them that way as well. My philosophy is to lay them out, up front, so that parents know exactly what is expected of their child and others if they are part of our ministries.
There is also one other things, I include in the packet of information and also talk about with the parents… it is my expectations for them. These of course are not identified as rules, in the same sense that I might identify my expectations for being a leader or how to act as a students. These however are still the standards and guidelines that I would like understood as a parent with a child in our ministries. I include them in the section about our parent ministry vision and the opportunities to be involved in our ministry as a parents. I provide these with a brief explanation and also include scripture context as you will see. I call them “Help Us, Help You”, here is what they look like along with the accompanying passage that I provide:
1. Be your child’s parent- we are not and will not take your place and God-given role– Prov. 22:
2. Trust us with your child– I Sam. 2, Luke 2:49
3. Commit to being faithful and make the youth ministry a priority in your home– Heb. 10:25
4. Follow up with your child at home about what we are teaching-Deut. 11:19
5. Communicate with the Youth Pastor directly and immediately about any concerns or questions– Matt. 18:15, II Cor. 12:20
6. Support and join us in our vision and mission of discipleship and outreach, understanding that we exist not just for church kids but also to the un-churched/community students as well – Act. 1:8
7. Sign up for things on time (or even before the deadline). Plan ahead for your child to be a part of things -Prov. 21:5
8. Help us and support us in our expectations of students -Rom. 13:1
9. PRAY, often for us the pastors, youth leaders, support staff–James 5:16
I would strongly encourage you to consider making a list of your own or feel free to use these, based on your context and situation. I have found over the years that parents have always appreciated when we provide simple straight forward explanation of our expectations for them as well.
As we ministry to parents along with students, we must also be able clearly identify and articulate what a parent can do to “help us, help them”.