How to Empower Parents to Connect with Their Kids Spiritually…And Get Them to Actually Do It

You want parents to take a more active role in their kids’ spirituality, but it’s a battle just getting them through the front door of the church 2 or 3 times a month.

You wonder if it’s even possible.

Sure, in an ideal world parents are the main disciplers, but what about in a messed up, busy, chaotic, moving at the speed of light, barely have time to high five my kids on the way out the door world?

Maybe disengaged parents are just the hand we’ve been dealt, and it’s all we’ve got to play with.

Then again, maybe it’s not, and maybe there’s hope.

Maybe we can choose to believe that parents lie awake at night worrying about their kids and whether or not they’re doing a good job at parenting.

Maybe just maybe, there are ways to connect parents back together with their kids spiritually.

Here’s 4 ways we’ve found to engage parents in the process of discipleship.

1.  Give parents a family devo to do with their kids

We use a curriculum called Orange, and a resource they offer for each week is a 4-day devo that goes hand in hand with the main idea.

We personalize it every week by adding elements specifically designed for parents to go deeper with their kids, but we don’t touch the actual content of the devos.

We’re also careful to set realistic expectations for parents.

The devos are 4 days and take 5-10 minutes each, so parents don’t feel overwhelmed and kids stay engaged.

We also have a checklist for each month that kids can complete which puts handles on what we’re teaching (from the example below we’ll have something like: help someone secretly, or help someone you don’t get along with).

At least 2 of the 4 elements include parents.

Here’s an example:

Devo example

2. Give Parents Practical and Helpful Tips

By practical, I mean make sure the tips are actionable.

By helpful, I mean make sure the tips are relevant to what parents in your setting are dealing with.

What this looks like for us is an email every Thursday, we send all our parents a blog post on parenting; the blogs we use most often are: The Parent Cue Blog (theparentcue.org/blog/) and the Refocus Ministries Blog (refocusministry.org/blog/).

We use an email service called Mailchimp which has great tracking features, so we know exactly how many parents open the email and even the specific names of who opened it.

An open rate between 30-40% is a great goal to aim for.

3. Create Opportunities for Families within the church to connect outside of Sunday

Just like people need other people; families need other families.

For us, Sundays are too much of whirlwind for families to connect together.

So once a month, we host a game night at church for families to get to know each other.

We keep it nice and simple: snacks, and games that encourage conversations rather than competition (We use the Ungame, Family Dinner Box of Questions, and Would You Rather which you can purchase on Amazon).

Then if one family meshes with another, we simply encourage them to hang out together another time during the month.

Our goal is that 50% of families are hanging out with another family outside of church at least 1x/month on a regular basis.

We know personally how great it is to have a support family, and that’s what we want for other families in the church.

4. Do a Family Service Once a Month

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’re probably rolling your eyes because my posts always seem to come back to the Family Service.

But that’s because it’s totally awesome.

It’s a chance for parents to experience what goes on with their kids every week and to engage with it on their kids; levels.

It also shows parents that fun and spirituality can go hand in hand.

And for some families, like it or not, it is the only time during the month that they are engaging with each other in spiritual conversations and prayer.

If you’re on the fence about a family service, just do it.

If you don’t know what a family service is, let me know; I’d be happy to walk you through it.

Using these 4 strategies, we’ve had great success at  empowering parents to engage with their kids spiritually, and at getting them to actually do it.

What do you do at your church to empower parents to engage with their kids? Leave a comment.

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5 Responses

  1. Kimm says:

    This is wonderful! Thanks for sharing! We do many similar. I LOVE what you did with the GodTime! We may have to start tweaking ours too. 🙂

  2. melj says:

    Love these ideas. A couple if them we already do…looking at the family game night. QUESTION: How large is your congregation and what kind of turn out do you get for the family game night?

    • We’re about 250. For game nights we don’t have a goal for attendance; instead we see it as a step to connect families together. Our goal is to have at least 50% of families in our church hanging out with another family at least 1x/month regularly. And of course having as many families as possible at the game night will help that goal. On that note, we’ve found texting parents the Tuesday before with something like: “We know how important it is for families to connect. So this Friday we’re having a family game night for you to get to know other families. Do you know if you’ll be able to make it?” We use an app called text blaster to send individual texts to each parent. Usually we get about a 50% response, which is much better than any other communication we’ve tried.

  3. Kendall says:

    I love all your suggestions! I’d love to hear more about the once a month family service!!!

    • We do ours the first Sunday of every month to kick off the new theme. The curriculum we use is Orange, which actually has all the material for a family service built in. The idea behind a family service is basically that parents attend a service designed for kids with their kids. Here’s the basic format:

      Open with 2 Kid’s worship songs

      Welcome/Intro the Month’s Theme and Verse

      Fun Challenge (We get ideas from Jimmy Fallon) that includes parents competing against their kids

      Improv sketch where we use audience members or really anyone you want to introduce the main idea

      Bible story (Orange curriculum provides a video, so we use that)

      Landing- Review the Main Idea/Set up a response time

      Lightening Round (People have 1 minute each to answer 3 questions- the first question is an ice breaker for all the introverts, the second ties into the main idea, and the third is geared toward who a family can invite to church)

      Family Prayer Time- 3-4 minute worship song while families pray together about the main ideas and any prayer requests

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