By Aaron Wilson
As a youth pastor of 15 years, Zac Workun believes most parents of teenagers want to take the lead in discipling their kids; they just don’t always know how.
“For many busy families, discipleship is either relegated to church on Sundays, or is too big of a task for parents to know where to begin,” said Workun, Lifeway student ministry specialist. “We wanted to create something that would help student pastors partner with parents who need specific and accomplishable next steps.”
Enter Parent Partner, a new, weekly resource from Lifeway Students that provides step-by-step instructions for connecting with teenagers four different times throughout the week. Parent Partner enables parents and guardians to create meaningful connections over prayer-time each morning, and drive-time, dinnertime and activity-time every week.
Parent Partner was created by Workun and Chad Higgins, co-founder for Youth Ministry Booster and an associate pastor at Summit Church Oklahoma City.
Conversations are framed around a different theme each month such as patience and control, being present on purpose and exercising fear over faith. A sample dinnertime conversation prompt for the latter theme is, “With everything that’s happening in our world right now, what questions do you have? What worries are you feeling right now?”
Other conversations, activities, and prayers throughout the month help parents point to Scripture and model for their teenagers how to cast their cares on God and trust Him for assurance and hope during uncertain times.
“We really want to help motivate families in exploring discipleship as it affects their relationships with each other, their neighbors and their community,” said Workun. “The primary concern is creating a ‘do-able’ discipleship rhythm for both parents and their family units.
By subscribing to Parent Partner, student ministry leaders will gain access to a monthly content pack consisting of four weekly discipleship guides for parents. These guides come in PDF, Word document and email formats that allow student pastors to customize and send each week to the parents of students in their ministry.
“I love the way this creates a partnership between youth pastors and parents,” said Workun, “As a former youth pastor, this is the kind of on-going, conversation-fueling resource I craved. It helps address the discipleship deficit of the home. Parents who feel unsure of how to start deep conversations with their students now have a starting block.”
Workun said that while Parent Partner was in development before COVID hit, the events of the pandemic and its transforming effect on student ministries in churches around the world made the resource all the more relevant.
“COVID served as a catalyst for us to release this resource this summer,” said Workun. “Families have been stuck at home, and youth ministry leaders need—now with great urgency—a tool to help guide conversations that are faithful and specific to the issues teenagers are dealing with.”
More information can be found at lifeway.com/parentpartner.
Aaron Wilson is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.