One of the things I have always been passionate about in Next Generation Ministry is equipping parents to be the primary disciple maker for their children. Walt Muller says, “When we fail to see and answer the influence culture has on our kids, we forfeit the influence we should be having on our kids.”1 As a next generation staff we have put into place some great resources for parents:
Monthly Parent Meetings
And yet, just today one of our ministry staff contacted a parent about possibly serving in our middle school ministry and after a brief conversation the parent said, “It would probably be a good thing for me to get plugged in. I don’t believe I have even been in the middle school building since my child has been in the ministry.” This child is going to be entering her third year in our middle school ministry. What happened? Could we have done more to reach this parent?
Tonight, I attended a parent informational meeting for our new kindergarten parents, of which I am one. Of the 30 plus kindergartners that will be entering our children’s ministry there were less than 10 parents present for the meeting. Do parents not care?
Too often parents will make every sacrifice necessary to get their children to a ball game or dance recital, even a school orientation, but when it comes to things at church parents have given this little priority. “Parents need to know and be reminded that they are still the most influential people in their students’ lives.”2 As Next Generation leaders we must help parents see this and equip them to be the primary disciple maker.
Let me suggest two things:
One we must continue to do the things some consider tedious. We must do the newsletters, send out emails, use text message services, post pictures on social media, send home parent devotionals, and offer parent meetings. We must do this consistently and habitually.
Second, we must be intentional with the time the Lord has given us on our church campuses to disciple students with the Gospel of Christ.
How does this impact parents? When you get a student excited about growing in their faith they are going to want to come to church and this is going to force the parents to make this a priority. When we get students inviting their friends to church and living missionally on their campuses, and parents see students reaching students they are going to buy in to the ministry.
It will also be vital that as a Next Generation staff you cast a vision clearly and often of what you are going to accomplish in your ministry. I would imagine that as next gen ministers you would have a heart for parents as well. I would be open to hearing your thoughts and ideas on what you are doing to equip and train parents.
Minister of College and Young Pros
First Baptist Cumming, GA
2 Lovingood, Jeff. Make It Last: Proven Principles for Effective Student Ministry (973). Navpress. Kindle Edition.