Parents are the major influencers in a child’s life. Children’s and family ministry should be about supporting parents in their quest to invest spiritually in their children. Here are four ways to do just that:
1. Be Pro-Parent
Yes, you read that right. Too many of us say we’re for the parent, but we act like we’re against them.
Here’s an example: I used to get annoyed at parents who couldn’t consistently get their kids to church (or AWANA, or a big event, or…). How hard can that be, right?
Then I became a parent. As my kids got into children’s ministry, I understood how challenging it can be. And I realized I was scheduling parents right out of my ministry! I was trying to do too much program. I was competing against youth ministry. I was making it too hard for parents to really engage with what we were doing. Scheduling is one area to check on, but there are many others, as well.
2. Be Protective
Parents are entrusting you with what is the most precious, valuable and all consuming thing in their lives. They want to know their kids are safe when they leave them with you.
Make sure the systems & processes you have in place are sufficient to keep kids safe. Make sure everyone understands them. Make sure they are being followed.
Also, make safety obvious. Communicate safety when families first engage with your ministry. Post safety oriented signage (“Your child will not be released at check out without the matching tag given at check in” … or whatever is relevant to your processes). Remind parents that their child’s safety is important to you and your team.
3. Be Proactive
Most parents understand that spiritual formation is their responsibility. Most of them want to accept that responsibility.
In contrast, most parents have little idea about how to invest spiritually in their kids. And most will not ask for help.
We need to be proactive in offering resources, having conversations, and equipping parents to spiritually invest in their children in their everyday lives (where the influence is primarily going to take place).
4. Be Progressive
We understand Mom and Dad are going to influence their kids the most. However, we do have a great responsibility when they are with us at church. We can and do make a difference. For this reason, we have an obligation to make sure we are relevant, engaging and up to date with our ministry program.
When parents see this, it not only helps them feel better about what is happening when they leave their children with us on Sunday, but they will also be more receptive to what we are trying to help them with during the week. An irrelevant ministry on Sunday morning greatly diminishes the relevancy of our voice in other areas.
In other words, if you are still using flannel graph…you might want to evaluate the relevance of your ministry.