Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry
by Jim Burns and Mike DeVries
Three Stars

Working with parents can be an elusive task for the youth worker. We give it a lot of lip service, but when it comes down to the meat and potatoes of our ministry, we treat parents like the gravy rather than the roast beef. We like having them around, but fail to make their presence integral to the ministry. I am as guilty as Barabbas when it comes to this particular ministerial sin. I picked up Jim Burns and Mike DeVries Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry as a hopeful anecdote.

Partnering with Parents has been on the youth ministry shelf for nearly five years, but the concepts weather well. This isn’t a book filled with progressive ministry ideas or stories from churches you wished you worked at or thank God you don’t. It is a simple, quick, and easy read. It is geared to the youth worker that already knows the theoretical and spiritual value behind involving parents youth ministry.

Your first read of Partnering with Parents should be a quick skim. It isn’t meant to be read, digested, pondered, blogged about excessively. It is meant to be referenced again and again. Partnering with Parents is a warehouse of ideas for the youth worker interested in developing a better relationship with the parents of the youth in their ministry.

The authors take a strategy that is a bit different from other programmatic youth ministry resources. They outright tell the reader that they do not want to overhaul youth ministry at the reader’s church. They want to build in parent support to the existing program. This permission-not-to-overhaul is like finding the gold at the end of the rainbow in youth ministry resources. Burns and DeVries keep it simple and provide simple straight-forward advice on how to involve parents without rewriting the Bible or your church’s constitution.

They walk through the biggies of involving parents: parent meetings, parent retreats, family devotions, parent seminars, surveys for family spiritual health assessment, and community involvement.

Partnering with Parents in Youth Ministry is a must have for the youth worker, rookie and seasoned alike. It does just what a practical resource is supposed to do…do the creative brainstorming for you. All you have to do is tweak and implement.

Happy Parent Partnering!