Parents: Partners or Enemies?

The phone rang.

Upon seeing it was the parent of one of my teens, I immediately took a mental inventory of what I might have done to anger or upset this mom.

You see, my experience has taught me that when a parent calls, I've almost always done something wrong.

Parents don't generally call to tell me how good I am at ministry, or how thought-provoking they heard our most recent discussion was, or to thank me for investing in their teen.

Instead, they mostly call to yell at me.

So I picked up the phone and braced myself.

About five minutes into the conversation, I finally began to relax when I realized this mom hadn't called because she was angry at me.

Instead, she'd called because her teen was apprehensive about an upcoming event she believed was important. She wanted to see if I had any suggestions for how to talk to her about this experience. Her goal was to help reduce her child's anxiety about the event in order to help her feel more comfortable participating in it.

A few weeks later, this same mom signed up to be an adult leader at the very event her daughter was uneasy about. She did so in order to experience it alongside her child and thus, create opportunities for conversation with her about something important.

At the conclusion of the event, I felt nothing but gratitude for this parent.

Beyond that, however, I was reminded that parents are not the enemies of youth workers; They are our partners.

Read the rest of this article here.

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.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

Now Available!

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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