2 (Realistic) Ways to Help Your Volunteers Form Relationships with Parents
Do you want to form better relationships with parents in your church?
I know that’s something we’re always striving (and often struggling) to do at our church.
We use a curriculum called Orange (thinkorange.org), and they’re huge on Small Groups and Small Group Leaders.
And we’re bought into that, but every year we go to their conference, they talk about what it takes for Small Group leaders to form relationships with parents.
They say things like: go to a ball game or play, host a Small Group sleepover at your house, attend their birthday parties.
And I think to myself, those are really great ideas, but neither me nor my Small Group Leaders are single college students with a half load and no extracurriculars to be able to invest that much time in 8-10 kids outside of Sundays.
If it’s not realistic for me to do what they’re saying, how can I expect my volunteers to do those things.
It would burn them out.
But we didn’t want to just give up on the idea of our Small Group leaders forming relationships with parents, so we came up with 2 ways that leaders and parents could build relationships over time without the unrealistic time drain.
- Do Checkout from Small Group Rooms
For a long time, we had our Small Group leaders dismiss their Small Groups into our main space for free time at the end of service.
We would then try to bring the Small Group leaders out into our welcome area to meet and greet with parents.
But it just wasn’t working well.
So we decided to stop dismissing Small Groups to free time in our main area, and instead provide games for Small Groups to play in their rooms, while the main leader does checkout at the door.
Suddenly, every parent had to interact with their kid’s Small Group Leader in order to check their child out.
There was no way around it.
And relationships started forming.
The added bonus was that after our parents checked their kids out, the kids would want to stay and play in the main kid’s area for a little, so parents started sticking around longer instead of just immediately heading for the exit.
2. Text Parents
The second thing we started doing was having Small Group Leaders text parents.
Leaders share kids’ prayer requests with parents, about Salvations, anything special that happened in group, etc.
Here’s an example text a Small Group Leader might send to a parent: “Hey Nancy, just wanted to let you know Billy shared that he’s worried about a text coming up this week and I’m praying with you guys about that. Have a great week!”
It’s such a small thing, but parents are completely blown away by this.
And it creates a bond between parents and Small Group Leaders that’s strong and meaningful.
If you want to do this, my biggest caution is not to go into it thinking every Small Group Leader is going to start doing it right away.
It takes a lot of communication, energy, and accountability to get it off the ground.
Every week we talk about it with Small Group Leaders.
We have a sheet with a checklist of kids in each Small Group where the Small Group Leader checks off which kids’ parents have been checked (our goal is that every parent gets at least 1 text/month).
Eventually momentum will get rolling, and Small Group Leaders will see how impactful it is, and it will get easier, but don’t assume it’s gonna be easy from the start.
How do you help your volunteers and parents build relationships at your church? Leave a comment.
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