Parents want to like their kid’s pastor, but sometimes we don’t make it easy.

A few months ago a parent asked me for a special request. It was a pretty big ask. What complicated things was I didn’t really have the power to grant their request on my own. Now that last sentence makes it sound like I’m the genie from Aladdin, trying to explain there’s no wishing for more wishes while Aladdin and Abu just won’t take no for an answer, but you get the idea. So I said the seven magic words which will make parents love you:

Let me see what I can do.

I made some calls. I asked for some favors. I went out of my way to try to make this happen. Not out of my way like The Shawshank Redemption where Andy Dufresne spent 18 years hauling handfuls of dirt in his pockets, out of his cell, and into the yard till he had dug enough of a hole to squirm his way through 4 football field lengths of prison wall, but still, I really tried.

And I failed.

At the end of the day I just couldn’t make it happen. So I called the parent back, expecting a lot of criticism because they didn’t get their way. What I got was something totally different:

“It’s OK. What meant the most to me was you tried and didn’t just blow me off. Thank you.”

And that’s the key to making parents love you: Showing that you’ll listen and care.

All this parent wanted was for her kid’s pastor to listen and care. Just knowing I was willing to hear them out and try to help is what most parents want. When you extend that kind of common courtesy you’ll be surprised at the response parents will give you, even when they don’t get their way.

Before you tell a parent no, try saying “Let me see what I can do.” It’ll do wonders for your relationship with the parents at your church.


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