Are you struggling with parents who won’t let their students attend youth group? Are you dealing with parents who insist on attending EVERY event and program meeting with their students? How can you minister to this family better? Here are some tips!

Meet with the parents

The very first thing I like to do is meet with new parents! You can always offer to take them out to Coffey or have them come to your office to chat for a little bit.

Parents who know more about your reason for ministry and your program and procedures are more likely to trust you. It might still be tough for them to let their baby attend, but meeting with them helps them get to know you better. The more they know you in the ministry, the more likely they will allow their student to participate.

Give them two weeks

I know that parents are the reason we have any children in the ministry in the first place. I always told parents they had two free weeks of observing and checking out the ministry without needing to do anything else. They are their kids, after all! Sometimes, giving them two weeks to observe lets them see everything they need to know about the ministry to let their son or daughter take part.

Remind them of the volunteer process

If a parent wants to continue hanging around after two weeks, I remind them of the volunteer process. Again, helping parents remember that we don’t allow anyone to hang out is a safety issue.

Having a formal volunteer interview process reminds parents that you formally vet every volunteer who comes into the ministry. This could include a background check, an interview with you, two references outside of the church, and an interview with their own teenagers.

I remember one volunteer who passed on everything I asked them to do until I met with their kids. They told me under no circumstances should their parent via youth ministry volunteer! I was floored, But it was one of my hard and fast rules.

You don’t have to let a parent know which part they pass on, but they should know that you are the ministry’s leader and can determine who hangs around students.

Challenge their beliefs

Why do they feel the need to be around their students 24/7? Youth group, at best, is two hours long. Letting their students have a little bit of independence and freedom might be good for them! I might help them grow and their faith on their own. It’s not taking away any personal discipleship, Student. You’re just asking for two hours a week. 

Maybe the parents feel they need to be in constant control, make sure their students make the right kind of friends, and ensure their students are safe all the time.

These things can come from a good place, but they can also be unhealthy.

Challenge parents’ beliefs!

Let them make the call

We can’t change how parents disciple their kids. If they decide that youth ministry is not the best for their student, then that’s the parent’s decision!

As pastors, we have a unique role of coming alongside parents and helping them disciple their students. We’re not supposed to be the primary disciples, which means the final to the parent. The parent doesn’t have to dictate how your ministry works, but they can decide if their student will participate.

Did I miss anything? Could you add anything? I’d love to hear it!