student ministry, youth worker, youth ministry

Parent Ministry & Student Leadership Development

By Doug Franklin February 13, 2013

I don’t know about you but I am excited about an increased focus being put on parents being involved in youth ministry. I believe that parents are the primary faith influencers and need to take responsibility for the spiritual growth of their students. I understand that parent ministry, as a movement is still being defined. Some see parents as having sole involvement with students while others see more of a mix with parents taking a greater role.

As I have been thinking about parents being more involved in youth ministry, I’m wondering what type of ministry parents will have to their students. Parents for the past few years have been pushing youth ministry to become safer and to produce “nice — well behaved kids” instead of champions of the faith that will risk it all for the kingdom of God. I believe this comes from fear based thinking. Parents’ highest priority has been to protect their students at the cost of challenging them or getting them outside of their comfort zone. I am generalizing here but we have all sensed this desire by parents to make youth ministry into bumper bowling.

Student leadership development requires students to struggle, make decisions and move outside of their comfort zone. How are parents who are focused on risk free programs going to be able to deliver to students these types of experiences? I think there is light at the end of the tunnel. I believe parents really value leadership development for their students. They want their kids to be able to lead. I ‘ve personally seen parents allow students to do some risky trips in the name of growing as a leader. As youth workers we need to capitalize on this and work with parents to help them see the importance of challenging their students for the sake of developing as a leader. This could help influence parents on what is truly important for their students’ growth as a disciple of Christ.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More