Your ministry team isn’t complete without these important players: the parents. Whether they’re your favorite or your least favorite family (don’t lie, we all have favorites), having parents on your ministry team as more than just volunteers is important. To help give parents a voice in the ministry, better partner with them in discipling their children, and help build trusting relationships, I set up a Parent Council in my 2nd year of ministry and have loved it ever since.
What is it?
A Council, by definition, is an advisory board of people formally constituted and meeting regularly. A Parent Council is a group of 8-10 parents of your choosing that meet regularly to provide feedback, guidance, and input on the ministry. This is a sounding board for you as you plan as well as an extra team to rely on for getting the word out, getting feedback on events, and helping you guide the ministry so you aren’t doing things alone. My parent council met quarterly, and I emailed them when I had a question about something that I wanted their input on but that didn’t require an entire meeting. Your Parent Council doesn’t actually have a final say in anything you do, but you will be more successful in ministry and discipleship if you involve them in the thinking behind your ministry.
Why do I need one?
We all want the parents in our ministry to be more involved in the spiritual lives of their children, but we have to give them a voice and some ownership in order for that to happen. Creating a Parent Council helps parents feel involved in your ministry, and you can be more in touch with what’s going on in the lives of your families. A Parent Council also keeps you humble (honest feedback is not always positive feedback) and helps you avoid organizing events no one will attend. A Parent Council is your instant school and community calendar and setting one up also communicates to parents that it’s OK to talk to you about both the good and the bad. You’d much rather have your Parent Council complain to you about the poor organization at the egg hunt than have all the parents complaining to each other! A Parent Council reminds parents that it’s more about them than about you, and lets you be a parent cheerleader.
How do I set one up?
- Prayerfully consider who you want on your Parent Council team. Who do you trust? Who already often has strong opinions (and lets you know them)? Think about parents who are involved in your ministry in varying levels, and choose from a variety… some who volunteer in the ministry and some who don’t. Is each age group represented? Are both working and non-working parents represented? Do you have some quiet personalities that might never share their input unless directly asked in a safe environment?
- Use the download below to invite parents to participate and to plan an agenda for your first meeting.
- Figure out a day/time that works best for your team. My parent council chose 2:00PM on Sundays. That gave them the opportunity to get the kids home and fed after church. We held the meetings at my house (we were a mobile church so no building to meet in).
- Set the dates for the year up front. We met once a quarter or for emergency meetings about sudden announcements.
- Set the expectations at your first meeting. Let them know that you have the final say, but you want their honest input and feedback as you plan. Let them also know that this group, while not a secret, is not something you want them talking about with other parents in the ministry. It is a leadership role that they have been chosen for, not a title to brag about.
- Rotate members every 2-3 years to keep the voices fresh and give other parents the chance to serve in this way.