When Youth Ministries Involve Parents

I’m a big advocate of youth ministries trying to provide venues where parents and teenagers interact, bond and even laugh together. Youth workers can be proactive about creating these kinds of venues—like PARENT NIGHT, FAMILY NIGHT or even MOTHER/DAUGHTER events.

That’s what Amber did. That’s why I asked her to write a guest post and give you a taste of what she did.

Amber is a volunteer youth worker in “nowhere” Nebraska. Trust me… it’s really in the middle of nowhere. I met Amber for the first time face-to-face a few weeks ago when I taught a parent workshop at her church in Nebraska. It was amazing to see so many from their rural community come out—great fun! After the workshop, Amber pulled me aside and thanked me for so many of the free resources we’ve been providing to youth workers like her for years, including an up-front game she had just used on a parent night- Battle of the Generations. The more she shared, the more I realized that she had a lot of fun ideas to offer. So I asked Amber to share a little about some of the evenings she planned and maybe let us know some of the specific activities she used.

So here’s a fun little guest post from front lines Nebraska youth worker, Amber:

Hey Jonathan,

You suggested I send an e-mail about some of the activities and games we have enjoyed on our parent/teenager nights, so here it is.  I also plan to put some reviews on the website.  LOVE all the games, thanks so much!!

I have used the “Parent Game” from your “Parent Night” and “Battle of the Generations” in our yearly Family Night event, and both the kids and the parents have loved it. I also recently did a purity retreat with girls and their moms, and we did our own version of the “Parent Game”. The girls were having so much fun that they were actually begging me to keep playing the game. I told them I didn’t have any more questions, but they asked me to make up some more so they could keep playing. I think they really enjoy learning new things about their moms, especially when the other girls are doing the same thing. I also think they enjoy it when they see how well their mom knows them!

Here is our version of the Mom/Daughter game:
Each person had some paper and a marker (small marker boards would work great here) and wrote their answer, then everyone held up their papers at the same time.  This saves lots of time and is much more fun than having one group leave the room.


  • What is your daughters favorite color of toenail polish?
  • If you could throw away one thing from your daughter’s closet, what would it be?
  • If you had to guess one guy in your daughter’s class that she might marry, who would it be?
  • If you and your daughter were on a road trip together, who would have to stop for a bathroom break first?
  • If she had to pick today, what colors would your daughter pick for her wedding?


  • What were the colors at your parents wedding?
  • What is your mom’s favorite movie?
  • What is the coolest car your mom ever drove?
  • What is your mom’s favorite day of the week?
  • Who was your mom’s best friend in high school?
  • How many times per day does your mom check her Facebook page?

We also love your “Dance Dance Evolution” game and “Time Check” game for our Family Nights.

I also plan to give away copies of your parent book, Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, at our next Family Night! 🙂

Thanks again,

~Amber Thornton

Thanks Amber! Those are some awesome ideas that might get our own creative juices flowing!

What about you?
Have you tried these kinds of venues with parents?

What worked well?

What didn’t work well?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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One Response to When Youth Ministries Involve Parents

  1. Josh Evans says:

    Jonathan, thanks for the thoughts. When the student ministry is functioning as a family ministry, it is the most effective! The problem lies with getting the ministry and the parents on the same page to make it the most effective and the largest threat to change the world! I appreciate (like always) the thoughts about parenting in ministry, and the importance of it.