One problem many children’s ministries have is they try to minister to children on their own. That’s not the way God wants us to do things. Although we may have children in our ministry who don’t have godly parents, God wants to use parents to spiritually raise their children. The role of children’s ministry should be a support role.
Here’s some ideas on ways to partner with parents.
Communication: Communication is one of the key factors in partnering with parents. Most children’s ministries only communicate with the parents of their students to let them know about an upcoming event or program. This is not enough. If you truly want to communicate with parents, you need to let them know what’s going on in children’s ministry, what your goals and core values are, where you’re headed, and what you’re teaching. Newsletters, fliers, and bulletins are one way to do this, but they can’t be the only way. Communication, to be effective, needs the personal touch. Call the parents of your students or visit them. When you do talk to them, don’t only talk. Ask them what they would like to see as spiritual growth in their children. Communication is a two way street.
Use Parents On Your Leadership Team: One way to make sure parents are involved in children’s ministry is to have parents on your children’s ministry planning team. Sometimes they won’t be able to participate every week as workers, but by having parents on your planning team, you give them a voice.
Minister to Families: Sometimes we get so focused on children, we forget about families. Make focused efforts to include the entire family in some programs. You could have a parent/child banquet or include entire families in baby dedication. When a child is baptized or becomes a member of the church, find a way to include the family in the celebration.
Include Children In Services: It is great to have children’s services where children can learn and worship on their own level. But if they’re never allowed in the sanctuary, never allowed to be a part of the congregation as a whole, they miss out on being mentored by their parents and elders in a worship setting. Find a way to include children in services sometimes. And when you do include them, give them opportunities to participate.
Give Parents and Children Opportunities to Minister: Does you church do fundraisers for missions, feed the hungry, or give out free school supplies. These are great opportunities for parents and children to minister along side each other.
Give Parents Resources: You’ve told the parents in your ministry what you’re teaching their children. Also give them resources to share with their children at home. The Fire Bible for Kids is a great resource to use and has object lessons and devotions parents can use at home. JumpStart 3 also has some great music resources for parents to teach children how to memorize scripture. Focus on the Family has free family devotions on line at this link that you can share with parents.
Pray: Don’t just pray for the children in your children’s ministry. Pray for their families. Also pray for parents to have godly wisdom in raising their children.