When our church was started as a church plant almost 10 years ago we believed the foundation of our children and student ministries needed to be a partnership with parents. We really believed, and still believe, that parents are the primary spiritual leaders for their children regardless of where parents are on their own journey. We also believe the church's job is to come alongside parents and help them as much as possible.
How do you partner with parents?
Recognizing that parents have the primary influence and the most time with their kids, we want to make sure we're helping them get the most out of their time. While churches have always wanted to invest in kids, students, and parents, this philosophy of ministry is still somewhat new and therefore none of us have it all figured out. We're all experimenting and trying different things. When I talk with other ministry leaders one of the top questions they have (after how to get more volunteers) is how to partner well with parents. How do you do it?
Our 4-Part Strategy for Partnering With Parents
In looking at all we do for parents as well as all the things we have tried in the past, we noticed they all fit into one of 4 categories. Knowing that is helpful because we can talk about it as a specific strategy and evaluate how we're doing in each of the areas regularly. We have also had conversations about how much to invest in each area and where we see the greatest return on our investment. Our 4-part strategy is:
One way we partner with parents is through communication. This is important because communication communicates that we care (click here to see what I mean). It is also important because if we want to be on the same page as parents, and if we want them to be informed about what we're teaching their children, we must communicate well. In our current context, we must communicate through a variety of channels. At CCC we communicate with parents weekly through print pieces, email, social media, text, the program/bulletin on Sundays, and video.
Another way we partner with parents is through resources. We have used Orange curriculum from the very beginning, so we pass on the great resources they create for parents. That includes print pieces on Sunday that outline what their child learned, the Parent Cue Blog, App, and Podcast, books, and the Studio252.tv website for elementary kids.
Throughout the year we do events designed to partner with parents. We do transition and milestone events, such as Kindergarten Confidential for incoming kindergartners and the Launch Party for incoming 6th graders. We do Baby Dedication, a Dive In class for kids interested in baptism, and Coffee Talks for parents of students.
In addition to those regular events we do each year, we do 2-3 extra events designed to partner with parents as well. Events such as Father Daughter Date Night, Great Family Experience, and more. We continue to try different things to help parents become the best they can be and use their time well.
The BEST Partnership We Have
In the next post I'll share the fourth way, which is also the BEST way, we partner with parents. I wanted to include it here, but it deserves its own post because of all that it entails. I'm sure many of you know what it is and view it the same way we do.
How do you partner with parents?