Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Five ways to Get, "Out of the Box" in Your Children's Ministry - #4 - Connect with Parents

Image result for clipart for #4I've been writing about whether your Children's Ministry is, "in the box" or, "out of the box" when it comes to interacting with other areas of your church; yesterday I talked about how you can get out of the box, and stop being "compartmentalized" in your ministry by engaging the Youth Ministry. Today I want to look at how you can do this by connecting with parents.

In the years I served in Children's Ministry, I have had, on more than one occasion, parents tell me, the reason they brought their children to church was so we could teach them about Jesus. They thought it was my, "job" to teach their children. So, over the years I have had to explain to parents how it was not my job, but was actually their job to teach their children and pass on a heritage of faith.

Even today you have parents who abdicate to the church their responsibility and joy of teaching their children about God. And, while this is sad, it is an even sadder situation when those in Children's Ministry have the attitude it is their responsibility to teach children about God. Don't get me wrong; if you serve in Children's Ministry, you do have a responsibility to help children learn Who God is and how to know Him more through His Word, but Biblically, the primary responsibility for this lies with parents, and grandparents (who we will talk about in a couple days).

Most faith decisions are made in the context of relationships, and while Children's Ministry leaders and volunteers can, and should develop relationships with the children they serve, they can not have more than a basic relationship. Parents have the closest relationship with their children and they are the ones who will be most effective in reaching their children for Jesus.

While Family Ministry is catching on in churches across the country, it often amounts to little more than a short parenting class once a year, child dedication and special resources offered at Christmas and Resurrection Sunday. Why is this? There may be many reasons, but I do think one reason is because those who serve in Children's Ministry often take the attitude which communicates they are the "professionals" and they are the ones best suited to reach children. This is not only not true, it is not Biblical. The most effective Children's Ministry is one which consistently engages, equips and encourages parents to pass on a heritage of faith and takes the perspective the role of the Children's Ministry is to supplement and reinforce what the parents are doing at home with their children.

So, how might you get, "out of the box" and engage the parents in your Children's Ministry? Consider the following . . . 
  • You could involve parents by letting families sign up to lead the worship/praise time.
  • You could involve parents by engaging them in the selection and implementation of curriculum - once you make a choice, be sure each year to hold a parenting opportunity to see what their children will learn at church and talk with them about how they can use the scope to launch what they do at home with their children.
  • You could have the parents serve on a type of pta - provide opportunity for the parents to get to know their child's teacher and organize them to support and encourage their child's teacher throughout the year.
  • You could involve parents by having them serve as helpers with the children. (Be sure to interview and put them through your safety screening as you would with any volunteer - and in any class where you have a married couple serving together, be sure you have one unrelated adult or teen who is at least 16 years old as well.)
  • You could put together a team of parents who are prayer warriors. Have them pray for the Children's Ministry, the children, the volunteers, and pray for the children's prayer requests.
  • Provide opportunities at least once a quarter for parents and children to work together on service projects.
These are just a few ways you could get, "out of the box" and engage the parents in your Children's Ministry. How do you do this in your ministry?

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