We have all heard about the limited amount of time we as kids ministry leaders have with the kids in our church. It’s about 40 hours each year. We have 40 hours to unwrap all of the great things God has for us and deliver it to the kids in our church in a way they can remember and apply it to their life. 40 hours isn’t a lot. It’s not even an hour a week! How in the world can we invest all that needs to be invested in the children of our churches with less than an hour a week?
Enter the secret weapon every children’s ministry possesses, but rarely uses effectively . . . parents.
The parents of your church have a seemingly unlimited amount of time with the kids in your church. We know this, although we don’t partner with them like we should. If you have been doing this kids ministry gig for any length of time you probably know that simply printing out a weekly handout for parents doesn’t quite scratch the itch. We need to go deeper. We need to truly allow ourselves to be an equipping resource for the parents of our churches. Most parents want to be that primary spiritual influence. They just don’t know how. That is where we step in and provide them with tools and assistance to ensure their success.
So where do you start? We have put together five ideas to strengthen your relationship with the parents in your church.
Be a kids ministry leader that parents want to follow.
Gone are the days when a children’s pastor could be that goofy and disorganized person that simply puts on a spiritualized version of some Nickelodeon TV show that was canceled over a decade ago. The parents in your church will never see you as a professional unless you act like one. It is definitely good to have a fun and dynamic program, but if you want parents to desire learning opportunities from you then you will need to show them that you can carry an adult conversation.
Enlist them to serve.
This concept goes along with point number one. If you are a leader that parents want to follow, then they will most likely respond well when you ask them to join the team. The more parents you can involve in the children’s ministry of your church, the more positive voices you have in your church.
Give them tools they can use.
Most parents are committed to being good parents. If you were to enter the word “parenting” into the search bar on Amazon, you would get over 236,000 results! Parents want tools to be more effective in their parenting. Consider having a library for parents to get books. Use the tools that come with your curriculum to the fullest. Tools like Parent Cue, and mobile apps are available so easily. It’s up to you to distribute them.
You have so many great opportunities that are built into the processes of your church to invest in parents. How are you using them? For example, when you do a baby dedication class are you simply telling the parents where to stand on the platform during the service, or are you taking the opportunity you have to outline for them what the next 18 years of their child’s life will look like at your church? Take advantage of the built-in moments you will get with parents at your church!
Lead your own family well.
The parents in your church will not want to learn from you if your kids are not parented well themselves. You need to be intentional in having a strong marriage and relationship with your kids. We aren’t saying that you need to be perfect, that’s impossible. If the parents in your church see your kids running rampant through the church with little to no oversight though, you won’t have much credibility. Lead by example. It is truly the best way to lead.
The bottom line is, the parents in your church are hungry for a deeper and more meaningful partnership with you. Do the hard work to draw them closer and equip them! You got this!