Help Parents Communicate with Their Kids
Most youth pastors are young when they start, so it makes sense that they may be intimidated by parents, lacking the confidence that they can actually invest in parents. It’s important for a young youth pastor to understand that they do not have anything to offer parents on parenting. They've maybe never even been a parent. But a young youth pastor can offer parents four things.
First, they can offer parents insight on how to communicate with teenagers. That’s what youth pastors are doing all day—constantly talking to teenagers. They’re listening to teenagers and as a result of that, they have a sense of how to communicate with and understand them.
Teenagers are intimidating, they’re mysterious, and most people—but particularly parents—just don’t know what to do with them. If you’re a youth pastor, just based on the amount of time you spend with teenagers, you have some level of expertise on how to communicate with them. For that reason, youth pastors can help parents understand how to communicate with teenagers.
Be a Student of Students
Secondly, a youth pastor should be a student of youth culture. Youth pastors spend so much time with kids—they listen to and see what’s going on socially and culturally amongst them. For example, most parents are terrified of social media. But, many youth pastors see how kids use social media and they might even have the same social media themselves, so they can help parents understand it. A youth pastor can be a bridge in the sense that they can communicate to parents what’s going on in youth culture and help them better understand how to lead their child.
Youth pastors can help parents understand how to communicate with teenagers.
Make God’s Word Central
Another thing that a youth pastor can offer parents is God’s Word. If you’re a youth pastor, you’re trying to be a student of context. You’re trying to understand teenagers and you’re thinking about how to communicate and apply the gospel and God’s Word in that context.
That being said, if you’re a youth pastor and you’re being diligent in your study of God’s Word and Christian doctrine, then you can help parents understand how to connect God’s Word to the life of their teenager. Even if your youth pastor is only twenty-four years old, that’s something that they can do. They can humbly share what they know, even if it does not include parenting advice.
This comprehensive handbook looks at every facet of youth ministry from a gospel-centered perspective, offering practical advice related to everything from planning short-term mission trips to interacting with parents to cultivating healthy relationships.
Equip Parents to Disciple
A youth pastor can also help parents by informing them that they have a biblical responsibility to disciple their children. Churches have been inept at educating parents on their spiritual role in their child’s life and so, if nothing else, a youth pastor can humbly help a parent understand the calling to disciple their children.
The way we do it in our congregation so that it’s received by parents and they don’t feel judged or condemned is that we say, “You’re the primary spiritual leader in your child’s life, you’re the primary pastor, you’re the one who lives with them seven days a week, and we only have them for a few segments a week. Given that, we want to do everything we can do to support you in the discipleship of your child.”
By communicating it like that, a parent is getting the picture that they have a role in spiritually leading their child, but the message is being communicated in a nonjudgmental way that is pastoral, gracious, and intended to support and encourage them.
- Why Youth Ministry Can’t Function Like Little League (Cameron Cole)
- One Reason We Shouldn’t Get Rid of Youth Ministry (Cameron Cole)
- 10 Things You Should Know about Youth Ministry (Cameron Cole, Jon Nielson)