I was having lunch with a group of youth workers who meet on consistent basis and we were discussing the updated version of The Youth Builder by Jim Burns and Mike DeVries. In this version a chapter was added to the Foundation section of the book. The chapter was called “Family-Based Youth Ministry.” It was very general, short and did not have a lot of depth to it. I didn’t understand why they added such a brief and general chapter until I saw their book Partnering With Parents in Youth Ministry. They simply touched on the subject in The Youth Builder because they devoted a whole book to the topic of partnering with parents in youth ministry.
The purpose of the book is to develop a “mind-set shift that moves into every aspect of our ministry. If we limit family-based youth ministry to putting out a newsletter or have a quarterly parent event, we have missed the essence of what family based is all about— partnering with parents to help them assume their God-given role for spiritual influence in the lives of their children.”
The book is divided into two major sections: The Strategy and The Application of partnering with parents in the whole youth ministry arena.
The Strategy section deals with the biblical philosophy behind looking at parents as teammates, not opponents in youth ministry. As mentioned in the quote above, it does not stress a deep program-centered emphasis but rather a mind-set that is carried into ministry to and with students.
The authors include a helpful chapter on how the family, in general, has developed and changed over time. The chapter helps us to better understand everyone in the family, not just the students.
Burns and DeVries also value the extended Christian family (the church) and see Christians within the church in a complementary fashion instead of a competitor in ministering to youth.
The second section of the book on Application gives great ideas on how to bring about a youth ministry that truly honors Christ and honestly partners with parents to have a strong spiritual impact in the lives of students.
The resources noted at the end of the book can be used as a tremendous springboard into further discussion on family friendly youth ministry and the impact it can have on both students and their families.
Partnering With Parents In Youth Ministry is a book that all youth workers, session members and youth ministry leadership teams should read. This strong, biblically healthy view of helping students and their families come to know Christ and grow in Christ could help churches across the country.