Does this sound familiar?
“We believe in partnering with parents!”
“That’s awesome! So how exactly do you partner with parents on a weekly basis?”
“Well, we send home a handout that has key points about the lesson and our memory verse.”
“Great! How else do you partner with parents on a weekly basis?”
“Well…that’s it at the moment, but we’re trying to figure out some other ways…”
That was how the conversation went at the church where I serve for a long time.
We wanted to partner with parents, and we did what we could, but we felt like we were never quite doing as good as a job as we could.
We felt like something was missing.
As we continued to talk about this, one day there was an epiphany.
In our Small Groups, we were really good at getting kids’ prayer requests and having them answer a big application question, so all we had to do was figure out how to get that information from the Small Group leaders to the parents.
At first, we tried having Small Group leaders text parents the prayer requests and question answers because we thought it might also foster some relationships, but our leaders either forgot to or felt uncomfortable texting parents, plus accountability was really hard to do.
We tossed around some others ideas and finally settled on what we currently do.
Before you read what we do, there are some things you should know:
It’s very simple to implement, and will most likely only require a few small tweaks to what you currently do.
It’s easy to keep leaders accountable to do it.
It makes what you do for families extremely personal on a weekly basis.
And it gives parents something super practical and very tangible to work with their kids on every week.
OK, so here’s the idea:
We used to have our leaders write prayer requests and kids application question answers on a piece of paper, and keep the papers.
So what we started doing instead is giving leaders a sheet of 4″x2″ sticky mailing labels to write prayer requests and question answers on.
At the top, leaders write the child’s name.
Below the name, they write each child’s application question answer.
And at the bottom, they write each child’s prayer request.
Once a Small Groups has completed a label for each student, we have a volunteer who collects the label sheets.
Then at the top of the handout we send home with parents, we’ve written the application question on the left side and have a place for the label next to it on the right side.
The volunteer who collected the label sheets will then place one label on each handout and set the handouts on a table to be given to parents at pickup.
(See the picture here)
At pickup, when parents tell our checkout volunteer what name to call to have them come out of the kid’s area, a volunteer will locate the child’s name from the handouts and give it to the pickup parent.
By doing this, we let parents know what their children want prayer for and very specifically how their kids want to apply the lesson from that day.
Applying this will have to be tweaked in different ways to work within your ministry setting, but my biggest hope is that this has helped you to think about how you can do more to partner with parents and personalize that partnership.
This article originally appeared here.