A Step-By-Step Guide to Boosting Parents’ Engagement
Take the next steps to boost the involvement of parents by developing a church engagement strategy and principles to follow. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on building a kids’ ministry that prioritizes partnership with parents.
Stop Making Judgments
A strategy can only take you so far, but the underlying beliefs of your church leaders will make a lasting difference. Parents can feel when they are being judged, so ensure your kids’ ministry workers create a welcoming environment that focuses on families’ unique strengths, not their weaknesses.
Church culture starts from the top, so offer church training resources to everyone who works in your kids’ ministry on how to treat everyone with respect regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. This is essential, as families who feel snubbed by ministry leaders will be reluctant to get involved and may even change churches.
Forge Effective Partnerships
Remember that to achieve the goal of a partnership with families, you shouldn’t preach to them. As the Fuller Youth Institute puts it, instead of talking at families, first listen to families. A balanced partnership is as much about give as it is about take, so don’t fall into the trap of telling parents what to do without listening to them first.
Arranging 1:1 meetings with parents at your kids’ ministry offers an invaluable space for them to voice concerns, ask any questions, and share details about the specifics of their family life in confidence. Personal and intimate meetings like these show parents at your ministry that you truly care.
Build Caring Relationships
Once you know more about how the families of your church work as a unit, you can do more as a ministry to provide for them. Center your kids’ ministry church engagement strategy on trust and mutual understanding to maximize its effectiveness and show parents you are serious about partnership.
A study titled Don’t Forget the Families discovered that perceived stigma, embarrassment, fear of failure, and worry that they will be seen as inadequate parents have impacted family involvement. Let the families at your ministry know that you are on the same side – you are in this together.
Share Your Power – Empower
One of the biggest mistakes kids’ ministry leaders make is assuming they are parenting experts. Lifeway Research highlights the dangers of this, as being called to serve in children’s ministry is an entirely different kettle of fish from parenting. Encourage parents to try out new techniques independently instead of informing them of what they ‘should’ do.
Share knowledge and resources with the parents of your kids’ ministry and empower them to take the lead in their kids’ spiritual journey. Use your church’s social media to share exciting things like object lessons to try at home, daily devotionals for kids, and family prayers so parents can maintain their power.
Open Communication Channels
Regular communication is one of the most important things when it comes to connections. Create a private Facebook group for your kids’ ministry to be a central hub for discussion and ideas, keeping families in the loop.
Be available for the parents of your ministry, and let them know that your door is always open for them. Hosting frequent meetings is another effective way of ensuring parent partnerships are thriving, so no one is being left behind.
Family Church Events
Devote certain events to families to initiate bonding between the parents and leaders. This could be a bi-monthly picnic in the park or a once-yearly small group leader brunch, but what matters is that it builds bonds in an informal and trusting environment.
The bond between families, parents, kids, and church leaders is sacred, so dedicating events to nurturing these connections is essential.
Make Meetings Useful
No one likes to feel like their time is wasted, so ensure your kids’ ministry meetings with parents are informative, easy to follow, and interactive. If families feel like they have nothing to gain from a meeting, guess what? They will stop attending and leave your family meet-ups looking bleak and lifeless.
Tracking how many people attend your meetings is a smart way to keep an eye on how effective your church engagement strategy is.
Clear and Concise Calendars
Clashes in your church’s calendars have a more damaging impact than you might think on engaging families. If they have to choose between two different events, unfortunately, the kids’ ministry partnership meet-up might be the one to lose.
Coordinate with different sections of your ministry to make sure there are no clashes, but reach out to the schools your kids attend to keep the calendars clear there too.
As far as kids’ ministry goes, the more involved the parents are, the better. We have said it before and we will say it again, but welcoming families into the ministry process means your kids never stop deepening their connection with God.
As Think Orange highlights, it extends their time at church beyond the confines of a Sunday and builds meaningful bonds between members of your community too. Put your parent partnership into action with a church engagement strategy today.