If you know teens, you know that the relationships between them and their caregiving adults can be complicated. The push and pull for independence, intense growth and development, and the increased importance of relationships outside of the family mark the adolescent years as tumultuous for some.
The wildly developing adolescent brain is the very reason many youth leaders enjoy God’s call to youth ministry. Where others may see unpredictability and chaos, we find ingenuity and passion. One of the best ways you can love your teens is to surround them with as much support and encouragement you can muster. Take a fresh look at how you can partner with caregiving adults to ignite a lifelong love of Jesus in your students.
Invite & Repeat
This generation of parents gets a bad rap for being hovering helicopters, but this is evidence that many of your teens’ adults want to be involved in their students’ lives. Extend personal invitations to be a part of the team. Offer guardians a specific role with a defined timeline and responsibilities—no task is too small. Continue to reach out with invitations. Even when they may be uninvited by their own children from home, your welcome may be enough to forge a connection with a caregiver.
Share Your Resources
There’s a flood of information available to youth leaders: blogs, podcasts, websites, trainings, webinars, books. As you find helpful tools and insights, share them with your students’ adults. Help them anchor the transitions and milestones of adolescence to faith. There’s no better way to cast your vision and begin life-changing conversations than by influencing the influencers. This giant step toward extending faith formation to home places you and parents on the same team.
Be Consistent with Communication
Don’t forget to communicate with caregivers. Go beyond sharing the calendar by adding meaningful news to your group messages. Be careful not to betray the trust of your group by sharing what was said by the youth, but do share the topics, Bible verses, and stories you use. Communicate individually about what you notice and love about each kid. Send a prayer list and ask what families want to add to the list. Keep it concise and consistent.
As this unpredictable fall kicks off, invest in relationships with your students’ caregiving adults. Your youth ministry will only grow and strengthen with parent partners as advocates.