Secrets to Getting Parents to Commit
By Janice Thatcher
Children’s ministers who’ve been successful at involving parents in their ministries share these six secrets to get parents to commit to ministry.
1. Foster an investment mentality. Parents today need help teaching values to their kids, and they’re looking to the church for help. Many parents have rejected their own parents’ values for so long that they don’t know how to communicate values to their children.
2. Serve parents. Don’t be shocked by what parents don’t know. One parent volunteer who hadn’t grown up in the church called her children’s church coordinator and asked, “Where can I buy manna for Sunday’s lesson?” Make sure parents have the resources and training they need.
3. Be relational. Because many parents are single or have relocated several times, they crave companionship through church. So a crucial key to recruiting parents is developing personal relationships. Network with parents at all times-before and after worship services, in the new members class, at brunches, after prayer meetings, or during any social gathering. Let them know that you want to be their friend.
4. Let parents do what they like. Customize your program by matching people’s gifts to the needs. George Pritchard, a pastor of family ministries in Oregon, has a volunteer whose sole responsibility is “matchmaking.” She gets to know people and, after discovering their strengths and talents, places them where they can best serve the Lord and kids.
5. Offer different levels of commitment. Susan Bunch, a children’s pastor in California, uses parents’ talents and skills in the summer for her “Sunday School Electives.” Regular teachers get two months off, and parents sign up to teach four-week classes on subjects such as veterinary medicine, cooking, carpentry, and sign language. Start teachers out as substitutes so they can grow into the position.
6. Innovate! Today’s parents thrive on diversity. If changing the structure of a program means parents can be involved, then do it! If parents are too busy to help during the day, hold evening activities (how about an evening VBS?).
But most of all, remember to let God play a major role in who takes part in your ministry. You won’t be disappointed! As Susan Grover says, “I always go first in prayer because God knows more than I do who he wants involved in the program. So He helps lead me to the people.”
Article “Secrets to Getting Parents to Commit” excerpted from “Children’s Ministry Magazine”. Article written by Janice Thatcher.
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”