Monday, July 25, 2011

Parents...

So I'm definitely writing today in excitement for what has been taking place in ministry the past few weeks. And even more so, for what will be taking place in the days, weeks, and months to come!

But, let me start with the days to come. We'll be hosting our annual Parents' Night this Wednesday, which is just like every other Wednesday night service except we openly invite all of our students' parents to come and join us. Now there may be some surprises waiting for them when they show up but, I'll just refrain from keeping a written record of those for the time being.

Every article, book or blog about youth ministry I've read (at least the good ones) all stress the importance of good parent relations, and using your students' parents as allies not enemies. I strongly agree. It is however, not always easy.

I'll list the things that I try to keep up with in order to maintain some level of communication with the parents of our teens, and would love to hear your ideas! Especially if you yourself are a parent!

FaceBook: Yes, it's a fact that much to the chagrin of most teenagers, their parents are on FaceBook. We've started a Parents' Group and invited the parents to join. It's a great central place to put updates and links, and details of upcoming events that their students just might have forgot to mention. I've also enlisted the help of one of my volunteers to run the page. This volunteer also happens to be the parent of 2 teenagers in my ministry. She thinks like a parent of a teenager and therefore is more readily able to convey that info to the other parents!

Email: In today's world it seems somewhat archaic to use email, but it does work and for the most part the information will get to them.

Hard Copy: In the dark ages they used primitive writing utensils toscrawl writings on to scrolls made of animal hides, or papyrus. We use a form of this but with some technological upgrades. We print a weekly News bulletin to give to the teens in our Wednesday night service. We also print up some extras and have them available in the lobby for parents to pick up, just in case a student "forgets" to take theirs home with them. I also try (not that it always happens) to write a parent letter every 3-4 months to recap the events of the past few months and also look ahead and give them a heads up.

I've been really making efforts on all fronts of my ministry to create the "culture" of communication. There are so many issues that often arise simply due to a lack of communication! I'd love to continue to head these issues off at the pass, as it were.

So, in what way do you communicate with your parents?

Blessings,

Jeremiah

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Slacking, but not lacking...

          I know it may seem that I have been slacking from my blogging duties. Or more appropriately stated, my self imposed blogging duties, but please be assured that it it not due to my lack of interest in sharing my adventures in ministry with you all. Life and ministry (mostly ministry) have been in high gear over the past few weeks, and as I've taken some time to look forward into the fall, it doesn't seem as though things will be slowing down all that much. But I'm definitely taking some time to re-evaluate the calendar and how it is shaping up, here's why.

          Last week from Sunday to Sunday my ministry held it's normal Wednesday night service, a small group Bible study, had an outing to a minor league baseball game, a movie night and a meeting with my volunteer team! While all of that sounds great, and many of the things listed were great fun, it absolutely KILLED me, and my family. Sometimes we need to learn to post-pone, reschedule, or just plain say no to things that are coming down the line. With all the activity we've actually seen attendance drop a little when normally events like these would be well attended. Yes, summer vacations, and family camps and the like have a role to play in that. But I believe even our students are getting burned out a little and the ones who are attending the most, are the ones who truly need an escape from their family life.

          Take my word for it, don't burn yourself, your families, your volunteers, or even your students out! Take some time to enjoy the your family and your summer, Fall is on the way quickly and before you know it school, and ministry will be in full gear!


Blessings,

Jeremiah