Great success in evangelism brings big challenges for kids’ ministries. One of those is working with parents, many of whom choose not to come to church – at least in the beginning. The church today is often the only moral voice in the life of a child; at this critical juncture, it’s easy to fall prey to a dangerous mindset. We give so much love and attention to our ministry kids, sometimes; we seem more like replacement parents.
It’s a logical pattern of thought but here’s where we can fall down. We can’t parent everyone and God never intended us to. Our job, as ministers, is to empower parents with the gospel, provide support and be an example to them, all while ministering to kids. I know from experience, partnering with parents is not our first instinct but it needs to be our focus. Here are some effective tips for partnering with parents through your kids ministry.
1. Welcome parents to your ministry.
It’s disconcerting when parents ask to sit on a class but you shouldn’t always object. A friendly, welcoming attitude demonstrates your willingness to serve the entire family, not replace an insecure parent. Also, carve out a small space in your kids’ church for parents. Have materials handy for Mom or Dad to take home like your statement of faith or an event calendar.
2. Provide leadership resources for parents.
Parents new to the church, or to church period, might not have a clue about buying a Bible or praying with their kids. Offer a recommended resource list to parents to help them in their growing faith. A free music CD or a list of handy websites can help too.
3. Keep continuing biblical education in mind during planning.
Offer parents suggestions on how to supplement the lessons. That can be in the form of take-home sheets, posting lesson titles and blurbs on social networks or mailing out newsletters. Give parents the opportunity to reinforce Bible verses – they may even learn from them!
4. Make regular contact – with the whole family. I offer a free Mom’s Day Out for parents who need to shop at Christmas and the occasional movie night at our facility. We also host picnics, visit homes and include new families in our events. Making regular contact is a good way to partner with parents.
5. Pray for the entire family. Parents may never know or appreciate that you pray for them but God does! Pray for family healing, stronger family ties and a deeper walk with God – for everyone.
Partnering with parents actively grows churches. Take a holistic approach and watch your numbers grow!