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Connecting with Parents During the Summer Months

Jen Willard
July 3rd, 2019

When was the last time you went out of your way to meet with a parent, when their teen wasn’t in any trouble? Summer is often the best time to connect with our students but as youth workers, we need to not forget the parents. Parents who are working hard to make ends meet and often working extra hours to make sure things like summer vacations and camp fees are paid for. Many of our parents need our love and appreciation. I will be the first to admit, that since I’m not currently a parent, I can often turn a blind eye to the difficulties of a parent’s journey. However, I can offer a word of encouragement just the same. My challenge to you is this, just as much as you connect with your teens, connect with the parents in your ministry this summer! Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Consider Visiting Them at Work

Could you offer to take one of your parents out to lunch? Could you offer to drop lunch off to them? If you do this with your students, you know that offering to bring someone you care about food can lead to small conversations that develop a lasting relationship. This small gesture will sometimes take you farther than you think in your relationships with the parents in your ministry.

One of my parents works at a restaurant that I am able to visit during her workday. It is one of the highlights of my week to get to see her at work when I stop for my morning coffee! While she often can’t talk long because she is on the clock, it is a way for me to check in and share my love for her and her family while also asking if there is anything that I could pray for them about. Sometimes these small gestures can have the biggest impact.

Find Time to Join the Family for Dinner

In certain circles, you might have the luxury of inviting yourself over to have dinner in the homes of your students (Pro Tip: I would encourage you to first invite the family into your home). If a student’s family offers for you to share a meal in their home, by all means, try your best to accept! There is something special about having a meal in a home that is personal and allows for free flowing conversation, board games and maybe even a few laughs along the way!

This suggestion will not connect with every family; but for some, the ability to have someone else do the dishes for the night without having to worry about a restaurant bill may be an answered prayer!

Pray For Them

We ask our students how we might pray for them and for their families. Do the parents in your ministry ever know that you pray for them? The goal here is not to brag on our wonderful and extravagant prayer lives, but to show the parents in your ministry that you take prayer seriously and that you care about their family enough to spend time in prayer on their behalf. Write a note or have a conversation to let your parents know that you prayed for them personally this week. Go a step further and ask them what else you might be able to pray for them for. Don’t forget to ask about answered prayers and celebrate God’s faithfulness together!

Remember that these are simply suggestions to get you thinking about building relationships with the parents in your ministry. Do what works for you, but always let parents know that you care about them and that you are praying for their family. I hope that your vision for ministry isn’t to minister exclusively to students. Care holistically about their lives and spiritual journey. This should lead us to care about and connect with some of the most influential spiritual leaders in their lives, their parents.

Jen Willard

Jen Willard has been in full time youth ministry for 5 years and is currently the Youth Pastor at church in Little Rock, AR. She loves continually learning about ministry and is a graduate of Nazarene Theological Seminary’s MDiv program. Jen loves drinking coffee and traveling to new places with her husband Bryan. Follow her on Instagram at @duckjd.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.

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