Believe it or not, parents are one of the most valuable commodities in youth ministry.
I know, sometimes they can feel more like a thorn in our side while we are trying to minister to “their” children. Yet, the truth is they hold the ability to minister to teenagers in ways that free you up to do what you can only do….preach!
A great thing to know is that parents usually are willing to help you in your ministry. They want you to be successful because it means that their child gets ministered to. When you give them an opportunity to help, it gives them a chance to influence teens and frees you up to focus on your message. Basically, it allows you to be more effective in the pulpit. When you are not occupied doing other things, you can be thinking about your sermon. Here are some things to consider for your parents that will allow you to preach better.
1. Pick Up/Drop Off Students
I have always enjoyed picking up students to come to church. Why? Because I could always assure some of them would actually make it! Yet, organizing parents to pick students up for us is an even better win. Students get to ride with their friends and you get to save money on gas!
Ultimately, this gives you more time before service to prepare and pray over your message for that night. I prefer preaching my message to myself before I preach it to others. It helps me to get the word down in my heart and also to get my delivery down. This could be something that works for you as well! Either way, utilize this time to improve your sermon.
2. Feed Them
One of the best things we have done in our youth ministry is having parents bring food for our students on Wednesday nights. It has been so amazing to see the number of students that come just because they are getting a free meal! I have found that this will help our students to focus more during the message. If they are able to focus more, that means a greater chance your message will stick. A great way to do this is to build a calendar to where parents commit to bringing food for your students on a rotation basis. This works great since they only end up bringing food once every two months or so.
3. Enforce Rules
Parents can be some of the best enforcers in your youth ministry. They are already doing it at home with their kids! If you speak regularly in youth group, you know how distracting it is for a student to be talking yet how you don’t want to call them out from the pulpit. I would strongly discourage from doing so as it can really embarrass a student while also polarizing the audience. This is an area parents are tremendous at. Place them in a role that takes that burden off of you. This will help you to stay focused and effective during your sermon. “Seasoned” parents have a way of correcting teens without causing a scene or pushing the child away.
4. Love on Them
On the flip side, parents are also able to love and minister to your kids in some of the most practical ways. Allowing your parents, who are comfortable at doing so, to minister in the alter can pay huge dividends. Sometimes teens just want someone to listen, sometimes they just need a real meaningful hug. Parents tend to be able to read what a student needs in these moments quite well. Through discernment, empower some of your parents to love on your teens before and after your sermon. Both play a vital role in the Word of God taking root in their lives. Allow your parents to plow their hearts by loving on them before and then have them encourage and pray with them after to help seal the Word.
Parents hold the ability to help you preach better more than you would imagine. It’s not about replacing yourself in these areas, but rather supporting yourself with adults who are experienced in parenting. If your parents don’t think in terms of actually being involved, give them vision to see the value of them helping along side you. As long as they see the value, they will be willing to invest.
Question: How do you make sure you remain focused on your sermon on the day of your delivery?