5 Ways to Growth through Your Kids and Parents
Do you want kids and parents to bring unchurched friends on Sunday, but nothing you’re trying is working or you don’t even know where to start?
If you’re like us, it’s a huge struggle and a frustration.
It’s awesome to be able to disciple the families we already have, but there’s also a whole lot of families far from God who need to be reached.
But just because we want to reach them, doesn’t mean there’s any quick or easy solution.
The one thing we do know is that somewhere in the range of 75-90% of first time guests come to church because of a personal invitation from a friend or family member.
We’re far from having it all figured out, but we have made some inroads in teaching our kids and parents to extend personal invitations.
It’s a work in process, but here are 5 ways we challenge kids and parents to invite unchurched friends.
1. Say it
The best place to start is with the kids; they’ll own inviting much more quickly than their parents (We’ll get to parents in number 4)
Start by simply telling the kids that you want them to invite their friends.
And this isn’t just a 1 week thing; this is a long haul every week forever thing.
Say it in large group, say it in small groups, say it in free time, say it when parents pick up their kids.
Say it all the time everywhere because it isn’t until you’re sick of saying it that the kids will only be beginning to get it.
2. Teach it to kids
As you’re telling kids what to do, invite their friends, you also need to tell them how to do it.
Keep it as simple and memorable as possible.
We have just 1 rule for kids when they invite a friend:
Ask your parents to help you.
We’ve found that kids will invite like crazy, but without drivers license and most times any sort of follow through, their friends are never going to actually come.
3. Give them something
Let’s face it: in Kid’s Ministry it’s a win if kids can remember one phrase from the service within 5 minutes of leaving.
So when they leave church, they probably aren’t going into their week thinking about all the friends they can invite to church…unless they have a physical reminder that can go everywhere with them.
We use silicone bracelets; each one costs about $0.90 (Take that versus spending $1,000 on a big outreach event or mailing, and the cost isn’t that great, while the payoff is massive).
It won’t just bring unchurched kids on Sundays; it will also teach every kid in your ministry the habit of inviting people into a relationship with God, something they’ll carry into their teenage years and even adulthood.
As far as the bracelet design: On the front, we have our kids environment name and “You’re Invited.”
On the inside in black ink we have our address, service times, and Facebook link.
The outside has a call to action, and the inside has all the information parents need to check out the church and come.
4. Teach it to parents
Here’s the hardest part.
Kids will catch on quickly: armed with a repeated message, how-to instructions, and invitation bracelets; it’ll become part of the kid culture of your church in the matter of a couple months.
But without parents, no matter how many friends the kids invite, new families won’t come.
Like I write earlier, parents are the transportation and follow-through for their kids invites.
We involve parents in 3 ways:
This will take time, but once the kids use the rule, always get your parents help, the kids themselves will be the ones involving their parents.
Almost no parent is going to be hostile to helping their kid invite; it’s just that life gets in the way.
But just like advertising requires multiple touches, so does inviting, and kids have no problem reminding their parents multiple times to help them.
(2) During our Family Service
We have a family service the 1st Sunday of every month.
Beyond discipling families, our biggest goal is to create an environment for families to bring other families.
Every month we challenge families to bring someone.
(3) A monthly to-do list
We have a to-do that goes along with each week of the month.
One of the to-do’s always has to do with inviting someone.
Here’s an example (Wk 4 is the invite to-do):
5. Measure it.
Whatever gets measured, gets done.
When guests come, we always ask how they heard about us, and write down the answer.
In small groups, we always ask the kids if they invited anyone this week, and write it down.
What we found is that over the first 6 months about 50% of our kids invited at least 1 friend, and some invited as many as 10.
What we also found out is that almost none of those invites resulted in anyone actually coming to church, which is how we found out the integral role parents play in invitation and added our rule about kids getting their help.
As we’ve pushed out the information to parents and involved them in the process we’ve seen better results.
We’re still experimenting with how to get parents involved, we know we’ll never arrive, but we’ll also never stop trying to figure it out.
The truth is that the vast majority of people who come to church are personally invited, so that’s the best, and cheapest, place to aim.
I’d love to hear your ideas and brainstorm on how to better involve parents in the invitation process.
Leave a comment below or on Facebook
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