Okay, so sometimes, the relationship building process with parent doesn’t go according to the book. We’re all human. One thing I love about my Pastor is that he reminds us that because we are human, sin too often messes things up for us.
So what do we do when relationships get messy?
1. Be Patient. Everyone makes a mistake. Whether it was something you said or did, or something a parent said or did, we all make mistakes and mess things up. Be patient. Many times parents will react to something you do because their child is involved. It’s that parental instinct that will drive them to defend, protect, and bite the head off any youth pastor who gets between them and their child. Don’t take it personally. Remember they are human just like you. At the same time, remember that you are human. How you react and respond will speak volumes. While it’s not easy, help your integrity and wait before you respond.
2. Reconcile Quickly. Broken relationships are painful. My natural response is to walk away and avoid the conflict. But that doesn’t help the ministry. Instead, attempt to resolve the conflict as quickly as possible. Stay calm. Separate yourself from the ministry. Listen for why are they upset? And communicate your reasons, responses, and explanations without getting worked up. If you were wrong, humbly apologize. If they were wrong, quickly forgive. There is too much at stake for you to harbor bitterness or allow conflict to embed itself into the ministry.
3. Keep The Pastor Informed. No one likes to be surprised with an angry phone call from a parent, especially your senior pastor. Your pastor is your ally, keep him fully aware of what is going on. Be honest with him. If the conflict requires a meeting with him, you, and the parents, you will want him to know the facts. If you are completely open and honest with your pastor, it eliminates the surprise calls, builds his trust in you, and strengthens your integrity along the way.
Working with parents can be challenging. But when you take the time to build into the relationship, the reward becomes a long-time friend and supporter. And I believe that when we do our best to honor and love parents, we honor and glorify God.
To God be the Glory!