Recruiting Parents to Volunteer in Youth Ministry
In youth ministry, you usually want to take all the help you can get. A lot of times, those extra hands can be additional staff members or recent high school graduates, but it’s important to have parents involved in your youth ministry for several reasons.
Parents have a unique perspective and place to be involved when it comes to youth ministry. They have a personal vested interest in seeing their kids and their peers grow in their faith, they have plenty of life experience, and are also able to bring a unique type of leadership that younger volunteer leaders may not yet be capable of.
But how do you get them involved? It can be hard enough to keep students around after graduation to help, or to recruit additional staff members to work nights for small groups and youth retreats. Here are some tips on how you can recruit parents to volunteer in your youth ministry:
Make the Need Known
Advertise the need for parents to volunteer! I can’t tell you how frequent it is that youth pastors are lacking volunteers while failing to make the need known. As a general rule of thumb – people will step up to the plate when a need is there.
Sure, sometimes you may have parents willingly make themselves available. But a lot of times, parents aren’t going to step up until they know there’s a need for them to get involved.
Advertise it on Sunday morning in main service. You may even be able to advertise a “parents of students” meeting immediately following your last church service where you can fully elaborate on your plans in youth ministry, how many volunteers you’d like to get involved, and the need for parents to host small groups at their home weekly or monthly.
Whatever it is – get the word out specifically to parents of students in your middle school or high school ministry and connect with them on a personal level to gauge their interest.
Frequently Invite Them to Help
It’s commonly the case that parents would love to get involved, but just don’t know when or how to. The solution? Frequently make opportunities available!
If you host game nights at the church, or fun evening retreats out bowling or for other activities, let parents know that you need a few of them to join as chaperones. These types of frequent invites keep the door open to parents who are hesitant to join, or may have previously rejected a request due to a busy season.
You never know when the time may feel right for parents to get involved in youth ministry, so the key is – make the point of entry always available and easy to access.
Create Low-Commitment Opportunities
Volunteering in youth ministry can feel like a huge commitment to parents.
“Do I have to host a small group of kids at my home every week? Do I have to cleanup my house and buy snacks and drinks for 12 kids every time?”
“Do I have to attend weekend retreats whenever they happen?”
“Is the pastor relying on me to be there for every youth event?”
These questions race through parents’ minds when they’re on the fence about volunteering. Sure, joining the youth ministry as a leader can be a massively fulfilling role, but it can also crowd your schedule and get overwhelming.
Create low-commitment opportunities for parents to volunteer. Maybe just advertise the need for 2 extra drivers to get students to and from an event. Ask for help with setup for an evening youth group activity. Invite some parents to the church to host a 30-minute breakout session once a month.
You know your own ministry activities better than I do. The point is – find a way where parents can get comfortable “testing the waters” of being a volunteer leader in youth group without feeling like they’re taking on a massive commitment.
Chances are very high they’ll see how fun and rewarding becoming a leader in the ministry is and will ask for more opportunities to get involved as a result of helping out on a couple nights.
Have the Parents Connect with Each Other
You know who’s more closely connected to the parents of the youth group than you? They are! Parents of middle school and high school students talk about their kids, what’s going on in the youth ministry, and most likely have a closer relationship to each other than you do to them. If you have parents that are loving their involvement in the youth group, why not get them to ask around for you?
If there’s a need for more parental volunteers in the youth ministry, talk to your current parent leaders about spreading the word to peers they think may be interested. Once again, even something as low-commitment as accompanying them for a small-group night or tagging along to an event to hang out. These are excellent opportunities for parents to be introduced to leadership in youth group alongside friends they trust, and may be just the thing needed to demonstrate how rewarding it can be for them to join as a volunteer.
About the Author
Chris Fleming is a professional musician from Minneapolis, MN who has played with artists such as TAYA, Big Daddy Weave, and Jason Gray. He is actively involved with the worship music scene and has contributed as a drummer, music director, song writer, and producer for various worship artists and churches locally and nationally. Chris is the Motion Designer at Motion Worship, helping to create motion background collections and countdowns for our subscribers.