6 Strategies for Connecting Parents to Your Big Events

Part of the “magic” of mission trips and events like the 30 Hour Famine is that they take place outside of the normal context of students’ lives. Often, they take place in a different location, away from teens’ family and friends. In so doing, they force teens to step outside their comfort zones, take risks, and in the process, learn to depend on God in new ways.

While we want teens to encounter God and learn how to depend more fully on him, there’s an inherent problem in this event “magic”: It usually doesn’t involve parents. Worse still, many parents cannot understand these spiritually formative events because they have never experienced them. As a result, even well-intentioned, caring parents can find it difficult to understand what happened during such an event.

Knowing this, here are six strategies to help bridge the gap that big events like mission trips and the Famine often create between teens and their parents.

1. Work to increase parents’ knowledge quotients before your event. Suggest books to read or movies to watch that relate to what you’re learning and doing. For mission trips, also suggest books and movies specifically related to where you’re going.

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Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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Jen's Books

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

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