For General Session #3 here at the Gathering, we were able to watch an interview between Dr. Jim Burns and Kit Rae about youth ministry, children’s ministry, and getting parents involved in spiritual development. Here’s a few of the insights Dr. Burns shared:
Q: Okay — what can we do to get parents more involved?
A: There’s no magical program or method to getting parents involved. We’ve got to develop a mindset of helping parents succeed. Many parents WANT to shape the spirituality of their children, but they don’t know where to start. It’s a matter of being involved in their lives and provided relevant resources based on their needs or current struggles.
Q: What are some of the things that churches are currently doing right?
A: Churches are being intentional about the resources they are handing out. They are handing out helpful magazines (check out Homefront!) or passing out CD’s with great Christian music. They are providing child care so parents can go out on a date. It’s stuff like that. Small little things. Not programming. Also, make sure that your curriculum is speaking to the families — something that intentionally involves parents and gives them an opportunity to have spiritual conversations.
Don’t give up. When you reach the family, you reach the world. One of the goals of the church is to mentor the parents. The parents mentor the kids and the kids change the world.
Q: What do I do to equip a parent of teens? Especially when the teen and parent might have a rocky relationship?
A: You’ve got to find the need an fill in with appropriate resources. Seminars are great. Even anticipated needs can be great — talking about sexuality when kids are still in the preteen years. Parents are concerned about what is around the corner — help reassure them with some great information and resources. Ask them what they need! Do a survey and then find speakers who are passionate about those things — maybe national speakers or maybe someone in your own church.
Jim Burns is President of HomeWord, and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com. Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers; Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California.
Personal Note: I recently started reading through Jim Burn’s book, Confident Parenting, which I would highly recommend!!