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Engaging Disengaged Parents


So, if you're like any other youth worker, you have some of your students' parents who simply won't engage with the student ministry. Maybe they were turned off by something the last youth leader did. Maybe you've unintentionally offended them. Maybe they just see the youth ministry as a place to get a break from their kids. Whatever the reason, it's time to bring them back!

Here's five thoughts on how to reach out to disengaged parents in an effort to help them re-engage with your youth ministry.

1. Go To Them

Sometimes our insecurities keep us from approaching people we don't think are 'on board with us.' Simply reaching out might be enough to get them re-engaged.

2. Talk To Them

Don't avoid difficult conversations. Don't avoid conversation, period. Have a conversation beyond a standard greeting or fluffy small talk.

3. Listen To Them

Mostly, parents just need to be heard. Listen thoughtfully, without forming responses to what they're saying. You might even want to save the 'response' for another time.

4. Know Them

Invest in parents for who they are - not for the sake of the students. Your ministry isn't just about the kids. The parents need you, too.

5. Encourage Them

They have the hardest job with the biggest influence of anyone in student ministry. Encourage and support them as they try to navigate this path!

Most of us will spend an hour every few weeks having lunch at the school because we see that as having LOTS of ministry potential. I challenge you to apply that same ministry-heart to parents.

What if you spent at least one hour every few weeks investing in a disconnected parent?

You'd be making an investment in the one person who has the most influence on the spiritual development of the teenager in their home. So what do you have to lose? Make an effort to engage with those disengaged parents in your youth ministry.

About the Author

Darren Sutton

Darren Sutton is a veteran youth pastor in Corpus Christi, TX, and the co-founder of Millennial Influence. Darren co-hosts a weekly podcast for parents of teenagers with his wife, Katie.

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1 comment

Here's a thought to how you can make this list practical. Visit your students sporting events. Very often do students go to each others events. (Unless it's a Friday 'BIG' game scenario or the championships.) But parents will almost always to to their kids games. This gives you the opportunity to sit with the parents for a change instead of a group of students. Sitting in the stands next to a parent opens up the door to do each of the five things Darren shares. And it's pretty amazing when it happens.
by: Jay Higham February 9, 2015 11:46 am