How friendly is your ministry to parents? (part 1)

Last week we had our 2nd annual FAM Conference. It was a great event and there was a lot of talk about how ministries can become more family-friendly. Here’s a few notes I took from conversations. I’ll share more later this week.

Life is busy in the home! Teenagers have a lot going on in their life and parents have an incredible task attempting to balance all the different demands on their time. Make the commitment to help your families and clearly communicate with your parents. Make it a goal to try to over communicate. Let them know about upcoming events (which doesn’t mean the week of the event), content that’ll you’ll teaching on, ministry successes, changes, costs, activities, etc. Your communication doesn’t have to be long, but it should be consistent and clear and speaks to the parents’ world. Learning how to plan well will make this much easier.

We’re on the “same side” with parents, so make sure to take every opportunity to speak highly of them when you’re around teenagers. Resist the urge to join in when a teenager is verbally bashing his/her parents. Rookie youth workers may try to “build a bridge” with a teenager by trashing parents (i.e. “parents just don’t understand”)…but it doesn’t work long-term. Keep your integrity and speak highly of parents.

Affirmation is a great gift to a parent! Each time you see a parent, try to pass on some time of verbal encouragement about their son/daughter. Parents love to hear great things about their kids and when it comes from someone who knows them and really cares about them, the affirmation is even more powerful. Returning home from camp this summer is a great opportunity to brag to parents about their kids and set a positive tone for post-camp family conversations. There are few things more rewarding to parents than hearing good words about their kids. This is a powerful gift that doesn’t cost you anything.

More ideas coming later this week.

When it comes to being family-friendly, what are your intentional actions? Share them here.

Teen-to-Teen Mentoring… can it happen?

25 more free books… read the post and find out how to get them.

Do you have to have it all together to mentor? What does that even mean? Nobody has it all together, even Paul…So that means, wait for it…YOU QUALIFY! Not only that but you have teenagers who qualify to mentor.

Mentoring is something that takes place in the course of life. Not after you have passed a test but as you go along.

Teen-to-teen mentoring

Teenagers have so much to give and yet need so much. By allowing your older teens to mentor younger teens, you are allowing growth to multiply. When your older teens spend time praying for and preparing for an hour (or so) with a younger teen, they are growing in Christ! They don’t know it all but neither do you! By spending a little time each week with a group of older high schoolers, you are multiplying your efforts. They can, in turn, spend time with younger students and challenge, motivate and encourage them to live for Jesus.

Teen-to-teen mentoring is a simple program that allows high school teens to challenge, affirm, look at scripture, and pray together. It doesn’t take that long for your high school students. It is a 30 minute meeting weekly with you the other mentors and then 45 minutes to an hour with a younger student. The meeting time and place can be determined by the students so they can mold it around their schedule.

Why don’t you allow some of your older youth to mentor some of your younger youth and watch how both sets grow in their relationship to Christ. They don’t have to be teaching controversial truths about the second coming or political parties, but can walk with their younger friends as they learn to get along with their parents and others. Give it a try and see how they can be led by God just like you can.

We want to help! Tami Wright, the co-author of Mentoring from Start to Finish is graciously mailing out 25 FREE books the first 25 people to email with their mailing address. You will hear from Deb on Monday Feb.11th to find out if you’re one of the first 25 (if you don’t hear back from her, you didn’t win… sorry.)

Question: What are some of the topics that you would utilize with teen-to-teen mentoring? What are your thoughts?

Guest post: Dr. Grant T. Byrd is the Minister with Students at 1st Baptist Church of McKinney, Texas and the co-author of Mentoring: from Start to Finish. He is the minister “with” not “to” or “of” because the students at the church serve alongside him! Grant has been in student ministry for more than 25 years. He has an incredibly beautiful wife (Jill) who has put up with him for over 20 years, a teenage boy (Keegan) who keeps him honest, and a wonderful daughter (Darby) who wants to be a teenager TODAY! Grant is passionate about Jesus, his family, teenagers, and the Dallas Cowboys!

[Are you getting Doug’s daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it’s real easy–go here.

Why a healthy youth ministry can benefit from a mentoring program

 25 free books given away today… read the post to see how to get them.

“For me the mentoring program was one of the greatest experiences of my exchange year. When I returned to my country, I missed the conversations between Anna and me a lot. Also, it makes church more personal and builds bridges between different generations in church.”

Wow! This teen had incredible insight in her evaluation of her mentoring experience while attending our church as an exchange student! Mentoring youth makes church more personal and intergenerational (which we’re hearing a lot about these days). We all know that mentoring is valuable. In recent years, many books and websites have been devoted to the value of mentoring – mentoring in the workplace, mentoring between women, mentoring students at school, mentoring youth in the community.

But is there a place within your youth ministry for mentoring?

Why set up a mentoring program when you already have a vibrant youth program?

Why bother when you have wonderful small groups for your church youth?

What I found when I was challenged to begin a mentoring program within my church’s high school ministry did not surprise me. I had seen the same need in other churches small and large. I found students who were not part of the mainstream youth program who needed a Christian adult to come alongside them and be their friend and encourager.

  • I found parents who were desperate for help in getting their teen involved in church, and single parents who recognized the value of having another adult come alongside their teen.
  • I found youth workers who cared deeply for their students and saw value in referring them to the mentor program for additional support.
  • I found that we could all work together to support these young adults God placed in our care.

No matter how hard we try, there will always be some kids that just don’t quite get what they need out of a “normal” youth program. Even a healthy, growing one! Sometimes, students who fade into the woodwork in a large group would thrive with a one-on-one approach. On the other hand, active students-even those already connected in a small group-may be looking for a way to deepen their walk.

Enter the mentor. A mentoring program is another tool a youth worker can use to help students connect with God. It can be added to any youth ministry. Showing up and sharing God’s love with a young person by spending time with them one-on-one and investing in their lives is huge! Mentoring will produce God-sized results if we are willing to make the effort with even just a few students in each of our youth programs.

We want to help! I (Tami) will send out 25 FREE Mentor kits (start to finish–valued at $29.99) to the first 25 people who send an email to with their mailing address (if you don’t hear back from Deb within 24 hours–you weren’t one of the first 25, sorry. I’ll give away another 25 on the next post on Doug’s blog–watch for it).


Question: Do you have students you can think of at this moment who would benefit from a mentor? Where have you seen God working in mentor relationships? Share your thoughts here.

Guest Post: Tami Wright was the volunteer coordinator of Mentoring on Purpose at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California for over 9 years. She is the co-author of Mentoring From Start to Finish. She and her husband, Larry, have worked as volunteer youth ministry leaders over the years –Larry fitting right in with the students and Tami trying to provide some structure! They have two married daughters and two grandchildren, Caleb and Vivienne. Tami is passionate about serving God, helping youth get connected with mentors who love Jesus, and spending time with Caleb and Vivi.

[Are you getting Doug’s daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it’s real easy–go here.