Do you have plans for an upcoming Youth and Parents meeting? Do you hope your numbers will be higher in your next meeting? Maybe you have plans that you want to share about upcoming trips, or you want to share about some great new research coming out, but whatever you may want to do, make sure that you are being very purposeful or efficient in your Youth and Parents Meeting. Below is a list of things that would be really great to keep in mind as you prepare for your upcoming meetings.
Do your meeting before anyone else: With everything that happens in the lives of our teenagers, if we can be first we can have the greatest chance of getting on their radars. I try to have my Spring/Summer Youth and Parents Meeting before Valentines Day. There are challenges to getting every single date scheduled for your meeting, but it will be worth it.
Keep Your Meetings Short: We make our meetings 1 hour or less and we provide lunch. I talk while they eat.. somehow they talk less!
Serve A Meal: Offer the meeting at a very convenient time, but if you can do it right after church or around dinner and provide a meal, you have a hook to get them in.
Provide a Hook: This may look like anything from a coupon code for 25% off a mission trip over the summer; to some cool prizes for people who can answer questions about the ministry. Keep it fun and light-hearted and people will begin looking forward to this time.
Offer Research or New Insight: Do your homework before the meeting and share with families about things they might not already know about the world their students live. Do not enter with an attitude that you are smarter than the parents in your group; but offer it as some words for them to consider. End this part of your meeting by offering to meet with families later for a more in-depth discussion. One of the recent ones I shared was from Kendra Creasy Dean’s Almost Christian and The Discussion of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and how it affects our students.
Be Prepared: Know what you want to say and say it. If you need help, then ask for it. If you want to share about a trip, then know about that trip. If you want to make changes over the summer, then be confident about your changes. Be open to criticism and be ready to humbly defend your reasonings. Remember these are the people you want on your team!
Have Papers Ready: I try to walk in with a pile of papers that parents will be able to take home. I really want them to leave with our summer schedule pretty secured and to allow my events to be the first ones they discuss on their summer calendars at home. I don’t even want them to wait for them to check their emails the next day at work and then think bout discussing it. I want them talking about things on the way home… Papers in Hand.
Follow Up: Even though I would prefer to have all the youth and parents at this meeting, I know it will never happen. So I do follow up with parents who didn’t make the meeting and also send an email out to all the families a couple days after the meeting with all the flyer and schedules. I would prefer they at least have the info if they forgot it at the meeting or didn’t choose to attend the meeting. I don’t give away the coupon code or even discuss what we gave away. That will get out on it’s own by word of mouth. I simply email out the flyers, Thank those who came, and offer to be available if anyone else has questions.
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