5 Ways Churches can Partner with Parents Without Being Annoying
Should parents be partners with the church in the spiritual lives of kids?
Ask any kids, family, or next generation pastor and they will shout: Yes! Yet in many churches there seems to be a disconnect between saying and doing in this regard.
So here are some truly practical things churches can do to start partnering with parents right now.
- Talk with parents when they check their kids in and out on Sundays. I know this seems really obvious, but I’ve been to multiple churches (some very large) where no one talked to parents through the whole check-in and check-out process. The simplest way to do this is create a greeting team for the Kid’s ministry whose sole purpose is to interact with parents and get to know them better.
- Give parents a tangible resource to continue the conversations you begin on Sundays. At our church we look at every Sunday as the beginning of a faith building conversation, but the conversation isn’t going to go very far if it ends at the church exit. We do 2 things to encourage more conversation. We give parents something called a “Parent Cue” (we’re an Orange church) a single piece of paper that reviews the lesson and gives parents conversation ideas for the coming week. Then on Monday, we email the Parent Cue to all parents (Here’s an example of the email we send), so even those who missed Sunday can still have a resource for spiritual conversations during the week.
- Text parents. This one can get a little tricky because you don’t want to be a nuisance to parents. Our rule is that we send only 1 text per week. It goes out every Saturday right before dinner. All we do is ask a simple question for parents to ask their kids that ties in with the next day’s lesson (If it’s a good question, this encourages families to show up at church the next day as well). We use an app called Text Blaster, which allows you to send mass texts, but the sender receives it as if it’s only to them. Here’s an example.
- Facebook. Most parents are on Facebook, so create a page and invite them to like it (there’s an option on Facebook to email an invite, so all you need is your parents’ email addresses). If you use the Orange curriculum, they have pre-made posts for you: http://orangeblogs.org/252basics/category/home-initiatives/social-media-plan/. Another great resource is a website called hootsuite. It allows you to schedule all your posts for the entire week at once, and then it will automatically post to your Facebook page at scheduled times during the week.
- Give parents Reading Lists. A lot of kids have reading lists, so why not parents? Our belief (maybe it’s naive, but we don’t think so) is that every parent wants to be better. So once or twice a year we give parents a list of 3 or 4 great parenting books that we believe will help them lead their families better. A great resource for parenting books is The Orange Store.
All these things can be done easily, are free , and will make a big difference in truly making parents feel like you’re partners.
What are some ways you partner with parents that have been really effective and helpful to parents?
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