One of the key elements to any WyldLife leader’s ministry involves a commitment to parents. It's vital to be with parents on a consistent basis, just like we do with our middle school friends.
Contact work is what we do. We emulate the incarnation of Jesus by going into the lives of kids, on their turf. We are not an event-based ministry and we never will be in WyldLife. That being said, we have to meet parents where they’re at too.
Some opportunities in our area where leaders have spent time with parents, “on their turf” have been:
- Attend middle school games and sitting with parents. In the fall many parents are also at the high school football games on Fridays.
- Have Campaigners at kids’ houses which allows you to see parents during the off-weeks of club (if you have Campaigners then). This has been a proven way for leaders to establish stronger relationships with parents once they’ve been given the opportunity to go to their houses and spend time with their kids in a small group setting.
- Volunteer at field days and other school events. Helping PTA parents run game and snack stations. It can be a solid few hours running the booth or activity with parents.
- Offer to babysitting or house sit. Both are great ways to serve parents.
- Get to know the PTA president and bouncing ideas off of him or her (and maybe attending a meeting).
- Ask middle school parents to be banquet table hosts. You’ll get tons of time to communicate and brainstorm, especially if you have a “table host night” during banquet preparation.
- Ask parents to host a “camp social” for other parents to hear about camp and ask questions. Appetizers or desserts are fun for this and parents love to volunteer to bring food.
- Volunteer at eighth-grade graduation parties at the end of the year.
Nothing replaces face-to-face relationships with parents. Communicating via email, text and phone calls is necessary, but if parents know us, those friendships create credibility for the ministry in probably more ways than we know.
Are we taking parents into consideration when we are leading WyldLife? Are we honoring them and their schedules? Are we thinking about them and their stories as we share the gospel with their middle school kids?
Middle school kids need their parents and a family of individuals sharing Christ with them. As WyldLife leaders, we get to be Christ’s ambassadors to not only kids, but their whole FAMILY also, parents included!