Below is an excerpt of an article I wrote for Youth Specialties. Click the link at the bottom to read the entire piece.
Why did you get into youth ministry in the first place? If you are like me, it was because God placed a calling on you to work with teenagers, in order to help them understand Jesus’ love for them. You might have also started because you believe in the next generation and what God wants to do through them. Perhaps you realized the impact a youth worker had on your life and you wanted to do the same for others. Not matter the reason, I think it is safe to say most of us started to do youth ministry because of the students.
Soon after, you probably realized your ministry needs to reach much further than the teens. I had read books like Family-Based Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries and the Orange Leader Handbook by Reggie Joiner, which told me the importance of partnering with families. I knew I needed to connect with the students and their parents, but I didn’t quite know the extent of that directive. I mean, after all, I’m a youth pastor — not a parent pastor.
Through books like the ones above and hearing great speakers at conferences, I started to realize what it looks like to partner with parents. In the beginning, it meant simply talking with them. I needed to make sure I knew the parents and not just the teens. This meant talking with them before and after youth group, sitting near them at students’ extracurricular activities, and sending them an occasional email.