Paying For Youth Ministry

The parents of the students I work with are asked to contribute to the cost of the church’s ministry with their teenagers multiple times during the year, and I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t a better way.

Like most churches, ours conducts a stewardship drive in the fall to raise pledges toward next year’s operating budget. Youth ministry staffing and youth ministry program expenditures are in that budget.

Then we conduct fundraisers toward the costs of mission trips. The entire congregation is invited to participate in this, of course, but the backbone of involvement is the families of students. What parents give at a pancake breakfast or bake sale is in addition to the “suggested contribution” toward the trip’s costs we’ve already asked them to give.

We also suggest a parent contribution toward the cost of retreats.

There is money in the operating budget for mission trips and retreats. Parents support that operating budget with their pledges and offerings. But then we also ask them to contribute toward those events’ per-person costs and to kick in for fundraisers.

The dominant feeling I have about this is gratitude for the faithfulness and generosity of church folk when it comes to supporting ministry with teenagers. Many, many of those givers are not themselves parents of students, and the ones who are know full well they are supporting more than just their own kids. I think that’s marvelous.

But I’m also curious if it’s the norm, this multiplication of asks from parents. Does your youth ministry do this, too? Do you plan on parent contributions toward things like mission trips and retreats?