Reggie Joiner said it best. What happens at home is more important than what happens at church. I’m a firm believer in finding ways to equip parents to disciple their children. But I’ve found that partnering with parents is different in preteen ministry than it is in children’s ministry.
In children’s ministry, it’s easy to see the influence a parent has over their child. A parent is able to almost complete control in the life of the child. Much like a coach instructs an athlete, the parent calls the plays and expects the child to execute them. I-formation 26-Fake X-Go—Fake the handoff to the fullback, Pass to the X receiver on the go route.
As children move into the preteen years, the parent becomes more like a cheerleader. Instead of calling the plays, they are shouting directions in the form of encouragement. Defense! Defense! Hold that line! Push ‘em back! Push ‘em back! Way on back!
Preteens experience a new level of independence. They begin to make decisions and plans for themselves, but they still desperately need the influence of a parent. How can we equip parents to disciple their preteens during this season?
I believe partnering with parents in preteen ministry is different because it needs to follow the 90/10 Principle.
What is the 90/10 Principle? Simply put, the parent must continue to engage their preteen to guide their spiritual growth (90%), but we must also encourage the preteen to turn to their parents for guidance (10%). Preteen ministry must equip parents as the disciple AND help preteens seen the value of their parents influence. This involves speaking highly of parents in front of their kids, deferring to parents on sensitive subjects, and developing relationships with parents just as much as the preteens in your ministry.
We’re experimenting with this idea in our preteen ministry. I’ve also seen some other ministries doing great things with the concept. Stay tuned this week for more details and ideas on how to use the 90/10 Principle in preteen ministry.