Parents’ Night Out

Let me tell you about a little thing we do twice a year called Parents’ Night Out.  My wife and I are the sponsors of an organization called Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM, formerly known as Baptist Student Union).  We were looking for a ministry opportunity that teenage youth could be a part of.  Since we are a school, not a church, some of the construction projects and work days that youth groups normally do are not a good idea.  We needed something that 9-12 graders could do to benefit the community, develop leadership, and nurture a servant like heart.  Enter my wife Teresa.

Back at Windsor Springs Baptist Church in August, GA, her youth group had done a thing called Mom’s Day Out.  The youth met at the church, parents dropped off their kids, then headed out for lunch, shopping, or a quite afternoon at home.  The ministry being offered is free baby sitting.  It was perfect for us.  We changed the name to Parents Night Out, and have it on Friday evenings from 4:30 or 5 ’till about 10.  Raising a family and being in full time ministry is basically 2 full time jobs.  It takes 4 or 5 adults to supervise the 12 or so high school youths who are actually doing the “baby sitting” for 20 or 30 infant through 5th grade kids.  And the parents love it!!!

The kids think it’s a party for them.  The next one we’re doing has a rodeo theme.  We’ve done Veggie Tales, Jungle Night, and the ever popular Pirates Night Out.  We went on a scavenger hunt that night and dug up buried treasure.  Our group plans ahead, and sets up everything the night before.  When all the kids have gone, it takes about an hour to put things back right, sweep, mop and get out.  It’s exhausting, but the results are three fold: 1) the parents working at our ministry get a night off from their kids, either to catch dinner and a movie, or relax quietly at home.  2) The kids think it’s a party for them, and that’s okay too.  We plan events and activities, but it’s a little more relaxed than a VBS.  3) Our youth learn about ministering to others, being a servant, and receive thanks from the parents.  The work is hard – sometimes – and at the end of the night they feel appreciated for doing a good thing.  Some of our students have never had that before. 

If your looking at missions and need something to do “at home” without driving cross country, consider a Parents Night or Mothers Day Out.  If you already make a one or two week trip with your youth, consider whether your church would benefit from adding Parents Night Out.  There is sometimes a disconnect between adult church members and what the youth are doing.  This ministry might help bridge the gap and benefit all the age groups of your congregation at the same time.

5 thoughts on “Parents’ Night Out

  1. Before anyone asks, that is not my wife in the picture. That is a high school student named Sarah, who has since graduated. If you click on the photo, it will open in full size. It takes a special person to watch the infants; Sarah is watching 2 at once.

  2. Thank you so much for parents’ night out. It always happpens right when I would love to spend time with my husband and when our children have been wanting a chance to play with their friends. It is a wonderful ministry to us. Thank you very much.

  3. Wow! I didn’t know Jenny even read my blog. How about that?

    Tonight’s theme was a Rodeo Roundup, and a lot of things seem to go wrong this week. After ages of not being able to buy a drop of rain, it came down pretty much all day today. We did not get to have a hay ride, did not get to walk over to the farm and pet the baby calves, did not get to build a campfire for telling stories around. We were not able to use the gym this evening, and our friend Rick got stuck in traffic in Lexington and didn’t get to come lasso anything. Rick is a real live cowboy. I’ve got the boots, the hat, etc. but Rick is the genuine article. I rode a horse once, and to be honest feel safer on my motorcycle.

    Nevertheless, all the kids had a great time. They would have been stuck inside all night anyway, at least they got to do it with 20 of their best friends. And let’s be honest; we could announce we were going to sit in a tiny room staring at each other all night and parents would line up to drop their kids off and split!

  4. All in all it was a success. I agree that we could say that we are going to tie the kids up and throw things at them all night and parents would still drop them off. Hey that doesn’t sound bad for the next theme. “Behind Bars” Parents night out. Hee hee LOL

  5. We don’t want parents to get the wrong idea; you’re kids are not tied up and locked in a closet. We’re giving parents one night off, no strings attached, and the kids have a great time. They think it’s their party. The BCM members enjoy it also.

    The day after, Teresa and I stay away from campus all day, and enjoy a trip into the city ourselves. Everybody wins.

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