Are you wondering how to partner with parents at your church? Do you want better relationships with parents but struggle with how to accomplish that goal on a weekly basis?
At the church I serve, we grapple with parent partnerships all the time. In itself, that is super-healthy. Why? The more you think about something, the more God will speak into that desire.
Below are six suggestions for how to partner with parents every single week. Before I hit the really practical stuff, I want to pause to note the bigger picture. If you truly want better partnerships with parents, don’t simply brainstorm strategies. Instead, start with the heart.
A simple prayer I’ve been praying is: “Jesus, break my heart for the parents in our church who aren’t discipling their children.” That’s where it must start. The power of feeling that pain will take you further than anything else.
That said, having more tools for how to partner with parents is always helpful. So here are six we use weekly in our children’s ministry:
6 Tips for How to Partner With Parents
1. Make parents the heroes.
We determined that when kids complain about their parents, we’re going to defend the parents. So when Billy says, “My parents made me do extra chores this week, and it was horrible!” our volunteers say, “It’s really cool that your parents are teaching you how to work hard. That will really serve you in the future.”
(Note: One big exception to this rule exists. When a child mentions anything that ventures into any type of abuse, volunteers know to report it.)
2. Always present salvation AND teach it.
We believe that if a child attends church only once in their life, they need an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel. So every week, we present the ABCs of Salvation (from Life Church Curriculum).
A = “Admit I’m not perfect.”
B = “Believe Jesus was who he said he was. He was God’s son, He died for you, defeated death, and came back to life.”
C = “Choose to accept Jesus’ offer to save you from sin. And choose to follow him, not just for one day, one week or even one year, but for the rest of your life as you love God and love others.”
Sometimes kids even volunteer to come up and walk through the ABCs. But we always have children repeat them with us. We also let them know they can share the ABCs with their friends. That isn’t just an at-church activity!
Finally, we give kids an opportunity to respond to the ABCs by leading a salvation prayer.
3. Share kids’ responses to an application question.
We always have an application question that goes with our Bible story and main point. We purposefully make it something that parents can work on with their kids during the following week. For example: “Who is one friend you can write a note of encouragement to this week?”
Leaders write kids’ answers on the parent take-home sheet.