I’m excited to be back at Orange Conference again this year. Tonight is going to be epic. RSVP for the live stream event and benefit from the conference in the comfort of your favorite coffee shop. (Caution, you may laugh/snort/spew if you’re not careful. Please protect your devices.) I’ll be interviewing on the feed Friday 1-2:30PM EST.
This afternoon I’m talking about a topic that’s been really important to me: How to connect parents and small group leaders.
Early in ministry I didn’t know the power of this connection. It’d be safer to say that I was mildly afraid of this connection.
- “What if the parents scare the small group leaders away?”
- “What if the small group leaders scare the parents and decide to keep their kids at home?”
- “What if kids hate me for connecting their small group leader to their mom or dad?”
- “What if middle schoolers stop sharing openly because they are afraid they are going to get outed by their SGL?”
- “What if the parents and small group leaders become friends and spend the whole night talking to each other?”
These are all “what-ifs” that come from a person who bases her (or his) ministry on fear instead of the belief that widening the circle of care in a teenagers life is one of our greatest gifts to them. These are questions coming from a person who hadn’t yet realized that combined influences are more impacting than single influences. These are questions that come from a person who still learning to trust and give away leadership. These are questions coming from a leader who is worrying about failure, anxious about tough conversations, still wondering if she/ he matters and is valuable.
These questions were my questions. But over the years I’ve grown rich in the knowledge that I am enough in Christ and his Body (other influences) is our greatest resource and ally. What a vital this connection we have to make and it is so rewarding when we make the effort to go for it. Loving kids is a lot about loving their parents and connecting them to other people who can love their kids too.
Oh, and you don’t have to be cool to connect parents with leaders. (Just in case you were wondering.) You don’t have to change everything you’re doing. You simply have to get connecting them on the radar and plan some things for you (staff or volunteer leader), small group leaders, and parents to do.
I used to walk through middle schools and get in trouble for not being in dress code. Mistaken for a student.
Years later I would walk through schools and get the very cool and affirming “is that your sister?” question.
In Texas, the question shifted a little, “is that your mom?”
Most recently the question became “is that your mom” followed by the students giddy response, “no, my mom is way younger than her!” Cool becomes a foreign land that I’ll rarely visit.
I imagine the next question will be “is that your grandma? ” That’s when I’ll redefine cool because I’m old and wise and no one is going to argue with me when I say I’ve been walking the halls longer than your parents have been living. “Grandma” is the epitome of cool.
Here’s the point, we may change in ministry but one thing never will. Kids need loving adults to love them as a team. It doesn’t matter where you are in life, how young you are, how old you are….if you’re in youth ministry, then connecting parents and small group leaders takes what you do and multiplies it in ways that you can’t on your own. It widens the circle and blesses the teenagers you are called to serve.