Do you have the desire for better partnering with parents, but struggle with how to actually accomplish that goal on a week to week basis?
This is something we grapple with all the time at the church where I serve, which in itself is super healthy because the more you think about it the more God is going to speak into that desire.
Below, I’ll share six ways we partner with parents every single week, but before I hit the really practical stuff I want to pause for a moment to note the bigger picture.
If you truly want to have a better partnership with parents, don’t simply brainstorm and search out new ideas, strategies and resources.
Instead start with the heart.
A simple prayer I’ve been praying recently is: “Jesus, break my heart for the parents in our church who aren’t discipling their children.”
That is where it must start because the power of feeling the pain of that will take you further than anything else.
With that said, it’s always helpful to have more tools in the toolbox, so here are the six we’re utilizing on a weekly basis.
We determined that when kids complain about their parents, we are going to be the parents’ defenders.
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: There is a big exception to this rule, and that is when a child says something that ventures into the realm of any type of abuse. At that point, we make sure our volunteers know to report it.)
2. Always present Salvation AND teach it.
A really important belief we have is that if a child only ever attends church once in their life, we want them to have an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel.
So every week, we do the ABCs of Salvation (from Life Church Curriculum).
“A” stands for “Admit I’m not perfect.”
“B” stands for “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” stands for “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 we even have kids volunteer to come up and walk through the ABCs, but we always have the kids repeat them with us.
We also let them know that they can share the ABCs with their friends and that it doesn’t have to be something that’s only done at church.
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 big point.
We’re very purposeful in making it something that parents can then work with their kids on during the following week; something like, “Who is one friend you could write a note of encouragement to this week?”
Leaders write kids’ answers on the parent take-home sheet.