I’m a Parent… and I’m Coming to Your Youth Group
By Shawn Michael Shoup on September 28 2010
I'm a parent. As someone who has visited a handful of youth ministries in the past few months, my eyes have been opened to what it's like to be a concerned parent who wants to find a great place of community and faith for my teenage daughters. The process isn't necessarily an easy or even a comfortable one. My girls were uber-connected in the student ministry we just moved away from -- in another state -- so we have been very selective and even a little bit slow in making our decision on where to plug in as a family. The student ministry at each church we've visited has played a major role in our decision-making process.
I understand that a parent's hopes for a student ministry will vary from person-to-person, but I thought I'd share some hopes from my perspective. Here are some of the things I'm looking for when I come visiting with my daughters for the first time:
INFORMATION - Please hand me a brochure or something with a web address where I can get some 411 on your student ministry. What does it look like? What are you all about? When are your service and small group times? Do you have any upcoming events? How do you plan on growing students' lives spiritually? Are there opportunities for my daughters to plug into ministry? It'd be nice to have some of that information to take home with me.
WARM WELCOME - I am going to be watching what happens after we walk through your doors. It's my hope that some adult leaders and students are going to see that my daughters are new, introduce themselves, and start showing them around and introducing them to people. They are nervous enough already.
AN INVITATION - It doesn't need to be the first night, but I would like the invitation to come and visit your student rally service so that I can see for myself what it looks like. Yes, it's okay. I can sit in the back.
- INTRODUCTION TO AN ADULT TEAM LEADER OR YOUTH PASTOR - I know you're busy, but it'd be great to meet you or be greeted by one or two of your student leaders. I am going to be trusting my daughters to you this evening. I might also have some on-the-spot questions and it'd be great if you were around to answer a few. If you are feeling really generous, I'd even go out to coffee with you. Yeah, it's that important.
To simplify even more, most of us parents are probably just going to come looking for more information and a relational connection. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?
I'm a parent... and I'm coming to a youth group near you.