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I don’t give enough props to our student ministry team at Ada Bible Church. The following is a guest post by my friend Jonathan Gruden, who is the guru of all things junior high at our church. He gives some insight into how we’ve brought parents into the conversation happening in student ministries.

Parent Night card

Over the last five years our Student Ministry has made several changes to make partnering with parents a priority.  We realize that parents are the single greatest influence in a student’s life, and our ability to influence students is deeply affected by how we value and care for their parents.  One of the most significant changes we made is to shift our fall gathering for parents  from one big gathering in the beginning of September to our Cell Families (gatherings in homes of small groups from the same school district) in October.   Parents are very busy and their time is a precious commodity.

In attempt to make this event more convenient for parents, we moved this event

  1. later in the fall when life slows down a little
  2. to our home environments which are more welcoming and often closer to their homes
  3. to be a part of our existing programming so they are able to experience and participate with their student.  This is also convenient since they already have to drive their student.

I have come to love this event, because it creates a face to face context for parents to meet their student’s small group leader, gain a deeper understanding of what their students are doing and learning, and for our leaders to cast vision for our ministry and how we fit into the overarching vision for family ministry.  Most excitingly it lays the groundwork for us to continue to care for and encourage parents as they lead their children.  This fall we had 120 parents attend between eight houses.

Jonathan Grunden is the Minister of Small Groups for Jr. High at Ada Bible Church in Ada, MI.  Blog:

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