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Letsconnectatorange_edited-1One of my favorite conferences of the year is the Orange Conference because it allows me to connect with next generation leaders who are passionate about partnering with parents. On October 10th registration opens up for Orange Conference 2014 so make plans to register you and your team!

When you see someone tweet or post on Facebook and use the hashtag #thinkorange you are hearing from a leader that is thinking about ways to partner with parents. Leaders who are thinking orange are leaders who are trying to connect the church (yellow) and the home (red) to work together (orange) to influence the next generation. In order for your ministry to partner with mom or dad you have to build trust. It really makes no difference what new family ministry strategy you roll out in the coming months if you are not working to earn the trust of parents.

Many time next gen leaders want to partner with parents but there are some simple trust breakers that get consistently get in the way. Here are 4 ways we break trust with parents…

  1. Over-schedule // When we do so much that nothing is done with excellence we break trust with parents. You want to make sure parents know that you can’t do everything but what your ministry does will always be done with excellence and be worth their time!
  2. Under-communicate // When we don’t let parents know what we are doing each week with their kids then parents have nothing to talk about with their child when it comes to Church. If parents are going to engage with what is happening in your ministry they have to have correct access to information. Create multiple lines of communication so you are getting info to families.
  3. Underwhelm // When our teams are not giving 100% every week to engage kids, when we are going through the motions each week parents get the message. When parents pick up their kids they ask a simple but powerful question…did you have fun today? In order to get to partner with parents we first have to engage their kids. When kids are underwhelmed with the environment we create parents will soon be underwhelmed.
  4. Under-estimate // We often under-estimate the power parents have in their kids life and we try to resource them in a way that does not fully embrace the potential of a parent to influence a child. Teens and kids need to hear their parents talk about Jesus as much as they need you to. Don’t forget that God can use the effort of a parent even if it’s not perfectly what we envision.  Make sure you are inviting parents into something that is real and practical even if it’s a little messy. Parents can sense when we don’t really believe in them.

The first step to partnering with parents is to build trust. Is the ministry you lead one that parents believe in and can trust and what can you do to make it trustworthy?