by Gina McClain
If I’ve learned one thing in children’s ministry it’s that parents aren’t looking for the Lost and Found Department until they’ve lost something.
The same is true in parenting. Parents aren’t looking for a specific resource until they discover they have a need.
“What do you recommend for a strong-willed child?”
“Do you have any Bible Studies on best discipline practices?”
“Where can I find more on teaching my kids about purity?”
There is a sense of “reactive parenting” that is prevalent among families.
Let me be the first to confess . . . I’m the chief offender.
I “bebop” along as a parent only to discover my kids have a need, a problem, a dilemma they need my help to resolve. So, I pop my head out of the “parenting weeds” and look around for someone or something that will help.
I see my relationship with my child headed for the ditch and I need to course correct.
I don’t think that’s an unusual scenario. I think many parents find themselves in a similar situation. And they need some tools and resources that will help them.
How can we (as ministry leaders) connect parents with these resources?
How can we provide tools and insights for parents in a proactive and reactive way?
How can we reach into the everyday world of our parents and link them to great ideas, content and tools that help them to develop the kind of relationship they truly want with their kids?
Over the past few years, we’ve utilized social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter in an effort to connect, inspire and equip the families within our church. The pretense is simple: Parents are already on these platforms engaging in conversation. We’re simply joining them.
Not only have these allowed me, as a ministry leader, to connect with parents on a more casual and personal way, but these social media outlets have become a great tool to connect parents to resources. Resources that help them view their family through a different lens, that inspire them to invest practically in their kids lives, and that equip them to build the relationship they’ve always wanted with their child.
I think the question of whether or not ministries should actively leverage social media has been exhausted. If your parents are there, you should be too.
But the “how” is a different question. How do I use these tools strategically? What do I talk about? How do I find the time to come up with compelling images, quotes, blog posts, podcasts, or videos?
If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I’m just not that creative. I need a team of people to help me.
Consider this for your ministry: What if you created a social media plan to communicate to your parents and volunteers on a weekly basis? What if you pulled together a team of volunteers and parents to help you craft simple, direct 140-character updates that connect parents to inspiring blog posts, insightful books or compelling quotes?
What if you created daily scheduled posts utilizing tools such as BufferApp.com or Hootesuite?
You could successfully build up a sustainable way to participate in and direct the conversation taking place on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (to name a few).
I was set free last spring when Orange released a new tool called Weekly. It’s the answer to my questions. It’s a helpful tool to effectively connect with families in your church and connect them with great resources that can help them.
Weekly is only made better by the tools it provides to equip and lead your volunteer team.
The premise is simple. Develop a weekly interaction with parents and volunteers and you maximize these two influences in the lives of the kids you serve.
Imagine your ministry showing up randomly in the life of a parent or volunteer on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with a picture, post or podcast that provokes them to . . .
define a new rhythm for their family
focus on fighting for the heart
or sets some time aside to make it personal?
You can create your own social media plan or use Weekly. Do whatever works best for you.
Just decide to do it. It’s that important.
Don’t leave your parents searching for the Lost and Found. Make sure they know that when they have a parenting need, connecting with your ministry through these social media platforms will help them.
Gina McClain leads the kids ministry at Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Leading in a multi-site context for over 13 years, Gina continues to learn how to lead those around her effectively. Shess an avid reader and blogger. And her blood type is coffee+.