Getting parents and others involved — 3

More on getting others involved with students . . .

Ramp them up — The natural caregivers in any organization are those who have regular interaction with students. To help volunteers who are starting from zero, notice natural connections. A student in the choir? Working in the nursery? Helping at AWANA? Lives in same neighborhood? Think through the adults in these settings and suggest they get to know the students they’re already rubbing shoulders with.

Stoke their confidence — Many adults shy away from students for lack of confidence. They feel bottled up and unable to enter needy situations. Tell them not to worry. Encourage them instead to make steady efforts at relationship. To ask questions (open-ended), observe strengths, attend events, smile, and pray. Simple stuff.

Watch for “social” hobbies or resources — Know a man who loves to hike? See if he’ll take you and several students on his next hike. Someone painting a barn? Owns property on a lake? Whatever. Work students into the ebb and flow of adult lives and relationships will sprout.

Simple encouragement — Sometimes you just need to remind adults they have something to offer. Some story or testimony. Some gifting. Some common interest. Few students will reject friendliness, or an offer to connect over coffee. Keep your radar on. Listen for salvation stories, interesting job experiences, heroic deeds — these are people your students should know.

Their Own Kids — Some parents steer clear of involvement if their own kids are in the group. If this is an issue, I try to strategically place people either near or away from their kids based on their sensitivities and needs. Talk with parents about which direction would be best and you may find eager partners once you resolve the concern.

Be relational and say thanks — You are not a dispatcher handing out tasks. You are a friend and partner with shared interest in students. Be relational. Connect afterwards. See how it went. Ask for insights. Say thanks. I know people who stay away because there’s no meaning, vision, or sense of partnership. It’s all a thankless task.

Talk vision — Speaking of vision, you’re about forming Christ in students. Discuss partnership in that context.

Ask — Still speaking of vision, it’s about Christ’s work among students, don’t be sheepish about asking. I know a youthworker who had something like 30 adults involved with his 50 students. He knew the meaning of ask.

Much of this boils down to awareness. Be aware of the adults in your church. Opportunities will rise to the surface. And always pray to the Lord of the harvest. He knows who the laborers are.