[box] i taught this workshop as a breakout session at the ETCH ministry conference in nashville, tn. below are my notes for “partnering with parents to point kids to Christ.”[/box]
same team/same goal
- same team same goal JESUS – sometimes it may feel like you are moving in opposite directions but as believers, we should all have the same goal – JESUS!
- it is not an us and them, it is a we.
- get key parents involved early with your mission – new in a ministry position or need to make changes? gather a team of parents that make up all areas of your ministry and pray, dream, and plan with them. they will be your best resource for promoting information about changes, new programs, or losing programs/events.
know your role
- family is the primary place of faith training.
- deuteronomy 6:4-8 “ Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.“
- families look different – more and more single parents and grandparents are raising and bringing kids to church. your ministry may also be made up of adoptive or foster parents. is your language and approach reflecting this?
- be prepared if a ball is dropped – not all kids have the support of parents and a family that will lead them to Christ. ask God to open your eyes to see their needs.
- who can you use as pinch hitters to take place of absent parents? – recruit a team of mature believers to be ready to invest in the lives of kids that don’t have a godly mentor.
equip the team
- supply parents with the tools they need to play their part.
- stay current with issues they are facing – research and be prepared to give parents the resources, scriptures, and action steps they need to parent through crisis and worldly influences.
- how are you equipping parents to lead their kids to Christ? – recently i was invited to an adult sunday school class for a q & a about how to lead a child to Christ. this 20 minute time period allowed me to speak to many parents to help them be prepared to walk their child through receiving Christ as Savior and Lord. i am already thinking how i can multiply this time and reach even more parents.
- educate – make sure parents know what their kids are learning so they can continue the conversation at home. supply them with practical tools to discuss and apply these truths outside the church walls.
- rule of 7 – the old rule of marketing is that people need to see or read a message seven times before they really receive it. how often are you sharing a message you need parents to really hear?
- #kidmintrenchtalk – just when you think you are getting on their nerves they are just getting the message.
- communication ideas – schedule constant contact or mailchimp emails to go out weekly with follow-up information, questions and ideas. use the free remind app to text parents follow-up information or details about an upcoming program or event. one of my favorite ways to communicate is via my personal or dawson kids blog. on this blog, we can share vision, theme, and a more detailed description of what children experienced.
chances are you won’t hit a hole in one, or if you are like me, even hit the ball the first time you head out to the golf course. just like we need practice in sports, parents need practice being the faith leaders of their family. we can partner with them to make this a possibility.
- make them a part of your classes (Gospel class) or new Christian class. i blog about our Gospel class here, but the more parents can be a part of faith conversations, the more confident they will be when it is time to lead their child to Christ.
- family worship times are a great time for families to experience faith activities and discussions together while being led by leadership. i have many of our family worship times posted on this blog. blackout vine family worship
- these times do not have to be elaborate. you can simply make conversation boxes for early arrival activities or take home crafts to continue the conversation. here is a download of some Gospel-centered questions you can use. Gospel questions
- this year we gave kids highlighters and we are encouraging parents and grandparents to highlight their favorite verse in their child’s Bible with a note beside it.
cheer them on/support each other
- Christ-centered parenting is tough, parents need our encouragement and support.
- as a dawson kids staff we have started to divide up investors and families to contact with them weekly. we find out how we can pray or minister to them. we pray as a dk staff and then follow up with a card. this has helped us move from surface to meaningful conversations in the hallway. it also helps us find families that are slipping through the cracks.
- sometimes parents simply need the reminder that they have the same Holy Spirit living in them (if they are a Christ follower) that we do as ministry leaders. they can seek and trust the Spirit’s leadership.
- respect their time.
- make the most of the time you have. plan as many things as you can when they are already at church.
- plan with eternity in mind, not just another fun event.
- quality over quantity – i often say the longer i am in ministry the less that i put on the calendar. i want parents to know and trust that each event and program i plan is purposeful and worth attending.
- team up with other ministries – this can help cut done on different events and pulling the family is opposite directions.
- don’t plan meetings that could be emails. don’t we all hate this?
- bullet points – my dear friends had to teach me this the hard way. they said i was too wordy in communication and they didn’t have time to read it. they constantly told me to use bullet points and i am still trying to practice this. 🙂
hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
- don’t quit – i often joke that kids have never made me want to quit my job, but parents have. let’s all remain committed to the call of God on our lives and the privilege it is to partner with parents.
- ministry and partnering with parents is a marathon, not a sprint. one day at a time and one idea or change at a time.
- families and many generations to come could be changed forever.
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