Partnering with Parents of Preteens

I have been leading a preteen ministry for almost eight years now.

Last year my own daughter became a preteen and is now part of this amazing age group. It has been an adjustment for all of us but a blessing also.

In order to lead a preteen ministry we have taken a lot of time to understand how preteens function, learn, and act crazy to put together something that fits their needs.

This has helped us in understanding what our own daughter needs in this phase of her walk with Jesus.

It also has given us the belief that we can’t do it alone.

We need to partner with parents to give our preteens the best and most relevant environment to begin owning their own faith.

As preteen leaders, we need to know and understand one huge fact,it is not our job to be the primary faith influencer in our students’ lives.

Deuteronomy 6:4-8 spells out that God places that responsibility in the parent’s hands. To fully partner with parents we need to fully understand this, which gives us the best chance of successfully working together. 

So how do we partner with parents to give their preteens the best opportunities and environment to own their faith?

Let me go over a few things we have started doing to better partner with parents.

Communication is Key

The first thing you want to communicate is your ministry vision and philosophy to the parents. If parents do not understand why, how, or what you are teaching their preteens, how can we work together?

We have started having kick-off events for our preteen ministry; thisnot only started the year off with a bang, butitgivesus a great opportunity to meet with parents.

We ask parents to arrive 30 minutes before the event is over. At this time we talk to parents about the ministry vision and our teaching philosophy.

This also gives parents a chance to see leaders interacting with their preteens outside of church.

Don’t stop there; make sure you communicate with your parents on a regular basis. Whatever forms you use: E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, monthly newsletters, blogs, or even snail mail.

Make sure you are letting them know what is going on in the ministry.

Communicate with them what topics or series you are teaching on. This is also a great time to give parents a tip or idea of how to talk with their preteens about what they are learning at church.

Getting taught by ministry leaders is one thing, but when mom and dad talk about it means so much more.

Share Your Stuff

As preteen ministry leaders we take time reading and learning about preteens. A lot of parents don’t have the time or know where to look for help that is God centered.

A huge way to partner with parents is to share what we learn about preteens. I don’t know how many times a parent has told me they just don’t understand their preteen. I can tell them its OK, I don’t get mine either.

This is where we can make sure we are helping parents understand preteens. Recommend a book or website to go to, or you can share that blog or article you come across that might help give more insight to their child.

Work on educating parents about how awesomely different preteens are from other age groups.

Host Family Events

As a parent of a preteen, it helps me to be around other preteen parents to know my kid is a normal preteen.

This also gives parents and other leaders the chance to get to know each other. So many times parents tell me their preteen just loves a leader, but the parent doesn’t know who that leader is.

Family events also allow our leaders to build relationships with the preteens outside of Sunday or midweek programs.

We have started having monthly hangout events with our preteens and we intentionally schedule some of these events to be family events. These nights have been great opportunities to spend time with our preteens’ parents in a fun and relaxed environment.

Finally, Don’t Give Up

It may be a slow go at first and some things you try might not work out, but don’t give up. Every church is different and every parent is different.

What might work for one church or group of parents may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to try different things, and if it doesn’t work try something else.

But no matter what, continue to partner with your parents to help develop their preteens walk with Jesus.

Culture is changing the way we minister to kids, preteens, parents and families. Make sure you are doing whatever you can help parents be that primary spiritual influence in their preteens life.

 

rob quinnRob Quinn serves as the Preteen Ministry Coordinator at Community Bible Church in Brighton, MI. He has been involved with preteen ministry for almost 8 years now. Rob is married to an amazing woman Jodi, who just so happens to be the Children’s Ministry Director at his church. They have one beautiful daughter Sydni, and an 8-pound attack dog named Lilly.

 

 

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