10 Easy Ways to Partner with Families in Your Ministry

10 Easy Ways to Partner with Families in your Ministry

“Partner with parents” is a phrase used quite a bit in the kidmin, student ministry and family ministry world. There are different ways to define what ‘partnering’ with parents means, but I define it simply as being a parent’s biggest cheerleader. I want to cheer them on as they lead their families.  I want to cheer them on as they help their children know, love and follow Jesus.  I want to cheer them on as they help their family navigate the culture and world we live in.

While a daunting task and key responsibility for ministry leaders, cheerleading for families doesn’t always have to be over-thought. Yes, there should be strategies in place to help move families from here to there, but there are easy ways to make this happen. Here are 10 to help you get started:

  1. Ask their opinion. Looking for ideas that a certain age group of kids might like? Looking for the latest trends in games, apps, television shows, etc.? Want to make tweaks or changes in your ministry? Keep your finger on the pulse of what kids like and what kids are talking about by going to kid experts – their PARENTS! I occasionally email parents in my ministry to get feedback and ideas on a variety of things. Doing this shows (1) I don’t have all the answers (which I don’t) and (2) I value them and their opinion. I have found parents to be very receptive to this!
  2. Provide a playlist of songs being played in your ministry. Give parents a glimpse of good, quality music by sharing your ministry’s playlist. You can share this through music streaming services such as iTunes or Spotify. This allows children to hear the music you play in church at home and on the go!
  3. Keep your website updated. Our families are busy. They don’t want to search for information on what’s going on in your ministry and when. Do them a favor and help them out by keeping your website updated. Include dates, times, pricing, locations and contact information. They will thank you for this.
  4. Ask how you can pray for them. The families we serve are facing so many challenges today and could benefit from our prayer support. One of the greatest ways we can cheerlead for families is to go to God on their behalf.

     Not only that, but…

  5. Follow up about prayer requests shared. This shows that you care for the families and is a great way to build long-term relationships with them.
  6. Celebrate special milestones. Baby dedications, baptisms, first communions, confirmations, mission trips, etc. are just a few special moments in the spiritual lives of our kids.  Join families in celebrating these important milestones!
  7. Be visible. Take the time to greet families as they arrive, mingle in the hallways and see families off as they depart. Wave hello, give a high-five, and don’t forget to smile!
  8. Send a welcome note to guest families. This year, our guest family check-in team members began to write postcards to children visiting us for the first time. These cards are written on Sunday mornings after the family has been checked in and escorted to their classrooms. We also send an email to the parents the next day, welcoming them and inviting them to complete our brief guest family survey. [If you would like to see what’s included on our survey, you can email me.]
  9. Encourage them. Parenting is tough. Some of our families are really struggling and are just looking for a glimmer of hope. They’re looking for someone to give them a pat on the back and say, “I’m proud of you” or “I’m praying with you. Hang in there.” If you see them doing something right, let them know. If you see their child doing something right, let them know. If you have a resource that might be helpful to help, share it. Provide a gift card for coffee and a pastry.  Ease their burden after a hard day and have a pizza delivered to their house.  The small acts of love and kindness will deeply impact the very parents we’re trying to reach.
  10. Invite them to serve. I almost didn’t include this on the list, but many parents want to be involved in what concerns their children.  The key: invite them to serve in AND out of the classroom setting. Maybe parents or grandparents could:
    1. make costumes
    2. provide snacks for volunteers or classrooms
    3. greet families as they arrive
    4. cut out items at home
    5. gather supplies
    6. organize storage areas
    7. design media elements
    8. solicit businesses for donations

Parents today are looking for support but most of all deep, impactful relationships with others who care about their children.  

Look over this list and choose at least one way that you can strengthen your partnership with families you serve.

If you’re looking for more ways to partner with parents:

Check out my Family Ministry Pinterest Board.

Keep the conversation going! How are you cheerleading for families in your ministry?

Flashback Friday: My Favorite Online Reads (Week of May 4, 2015)

This Week’s Favorite Online Reads

Here’s a sampling of some of the online reads I enjoyed this week:


What’s Your Leadership Made Of – Steel or Straw by Margaret Feinberg

The Best Way to Get Buy-In by Dale Hudson

Expand Your Vision: Partnering with Parents by Orange

How to Acclimate a New Volunteer by Orange

How to Lead A “Creative Team” by Brian Dollar

The One Thing You Must Focus On To Succeed in Children’s Ministry by Dale Hudson


I hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as I did.

Did you read something this week that inspired or encouraged you? Share it with me so I might check it out, too!

3 Reminders About Partnering with Parents

Photo Credit: mattmo.org
Photo Credit: mattmo.org

I love my job.  I really do.  But sometimes, in the busyness of making sure that a million details are covered, I can oftentimes forget that families in my church community walk through our church doors carrying some pretty heavy burdens.  I was reminded of that this past weekend.  One family is facing a health crisis while another family is adjusting to new, temporary living arrangements.

My heart breaks for these two precious families.  I wish I had the ‘right’ words to say, other than, “Tell me how I can pray for you.”  But it dawned on me…praying for these families is one of the greatest gifts I can give to these sweet families and the other families I serve.

“Partnering with parents” is a popular phrase tossed around in the kidmin world.  Google it – you’ll see more than 600,000 results!  You’ll see the phrase on websites, in vision and mission statements, listed in an organization’s core values, just to name a few.  But what does it really mean to partner with parents?

This past weekend, I was reminded that partnering with parents begins with a relationship.  Do you take the time to stop and chat with the families in your ministry during weekend services?  Are you even available to make this happen?  Position yourself in visible places in your children’s areas to get to know your families.  Listen to them – really listen.  What are they saying?  What are they NOT saying?

Partnering with parents means regularly communicating with them.  Has a child or family missed several weeks of church?  Has someone been sick?  Is someone dealing with an extended time of crisis – unemployment, illness, new living situation?  Reach out to them with a phone call, email, note in the mail, or text message.  Meet them for coffee.

Partnering with parents means coming alongside them in prayer.  When you say you’ll pray for someone, mean it – then do it.  Pray for them specifically by name.  Then follow-up with them.  I have begun to add this to our weekly staff meeting agenda.  It’s that serious.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways a kidmin can partner with parents.  But think about it.

Build relationships.

Regularly communicate with them.

Pray with them (and for them).

Keep the conversation going by adding your two cents!  What ways do you effectively partner with parents?

KidMin Conference 2013 – Day One Notes

So, we made it to the 2013 KidMin Conference!  I am so excited to be here!

Friday Morning – Pre-Conference

This morning, I took a Pre-Conference track led by Jim Burns from HomeWord.  Jim taught about “Partnering With Parents”.  Here are a few highlights:

*When you reach the family, you reach the world.

*One of the major purposes of the church is to mentor parents.  Parents then mentor their children, and the legacy of faith continues from generation to generation.  There is a 300% chance that high school graduates who have come from homes who’ve regularly engage in faith conversations at home are more likely to not walk away from the faith.

*When you welcome a child, you welcome Jesus (Mark 9:36-37).

*The family, not the church, is the greatest influence in a child’s life.

*Moms are by far the most influential person in a child’s spiritual development.  Here’s the breakdown on the top five (5) people, in order, of influence in a child’s spiritual development: (2) Dad, (3) extended family, (4) friends and (5) church.

*Why keeps us from partnering with parents?

  • It means more for us.
  • We’re insecure  – kids are easy, parents not so much.
  • We might encounter parental resistance, especially if the child has openly shared things happening in the home.
  • We have no say in Adult Education.
  • There is conflict with the Senior Pastor.
  • Parents don’t have time.
  • Parents have different priorities.
  • Non-traditional family structures are hard to navigate.

*As Children’s Ministry leaders, we serve parents by providing four primary tasks:

Information (communicate clearly to parents)

  • Send parent newsletters.
  • Have parent meetings (gather parents for dinner, decadent desserts and information/trainings).  Consider having spiritual offerings as well as needs-based offerings).
  • Let parents know of seminars, workshops, etc. at nearby churches, hospitals, etc.

Assistance (support the family structure)

  • Hold special seminars.  Get people in your church who have specialized training to speak to parents – teachers, doctors, therapists, etc.)
  • Have a library of parenting resources (books, CDs, podcasts, etc.).  If you don’t have a permanent space, have a mobile cart and park it in a highly visible area.

Encouragement (encourage parents)

  • Schedule a Parent Recognition Sunday, a special Sunday service where parents are celebrated.  Have the kids put a video together, serve lunch or dinner, etc. to honor their parents.
  • Write notes of encouragement to parents.

Involvement (parents in your ministry)

  • You will always need volunteers.  Consider, however, expanding what you need by asking parents to assist with areas they’re gifted – parents who fundraise for a living can help raise $ for mission trips, event planners can help plan events, etc.
  • Have a parents counsel to help speak into the ministry.
  • Have opportunities for parents and kids to do together.

Friday Night – General Session

The General Session started with awesome worship (this has never disappointed me here at KidMin).  Worshiping with other kidmin leaders is always a wonderful experience.

The Session’s keynote was to be delivered by Joni Eareckson Tada but due to illness, she was not able to attend.  So, the Skit Guys led the session and did so wonderfully.  They spoke on Mark 2:1-12.  Here are a few highlights:

*Jesus delights in us bringing people to Him.

*Jesus could have healed the man on the spot but He didn’t.  He said his sins were forgiven.  We think we know our need but Jesus knows best.

*Ministry doesn’t turn off when we turn off the lights.

*God has called us to put people on the mat and lead them to Jesus.

I am looking forward to more learning, laughs and encouragement tomorrow!