We often get the question, “What is the best way to partner with parents?”
As ministry leaders, this is something we want to achieve. We want to effectively pass information along to parents so they can have meaningful and strategic follow-up with their children during the week. We want to equip them to lead their children in their faith journey.
It’s a fantastic goal—even biblical—to help parents talk with their children along the way . . . as they get up, as they lie down, and everywhere in between. But, is the answer as clear cut as the question would seem to drive toward? Is there really one best way to partner with parents? Well, as leaders, do we think all parents like to receive information in the exact same way? Of course not, and we know this, but I do think we are oftentimes looking for the “one thing.” Our schedules are already jammed packed with our “to-dos,” aren’t they? So, if we could land on that one thing, in this area, well then, that would certainly make our lives easier!
If our goal is really to partner effectively with parents, then the inconvenient truth is, there isn’t one thing that is going to create a win for us in this area. Some parents still love the piece they can put on their refrigerator each week. For some, if information does not show up on their smartphone, forget it! Others spend their days on the computer, so if something is accessed online and/or via Facebook then we’ve got their attention. For still others, items that pop up in their inbox get the most attention. I’m guessing, if your ministry is like mine, you have parents that fall into every one of these categories. So, what in the world, in our limited time, are we to do?
There is actually some GREAT news out there for you! Here in Orange world, we value partnering with parents so much, we have created all the tools you need to connect with parents that fall into every one of these information preference categories. Now, we can’t actually get these tools into the hands of your parents for you, but we have taken all information preparation off of your plate. All you have to do is disseminate!
Our curriculum licenses include our Parent Cue pieces in both a printable AND emailable format! We have also pre-designed our social media plan with pieces ready to drop into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! We even tell you what to post on which day! For you smartphone junkies, we have our Parent Cue app available. Plus a website dedicated to Cue-ing parents (http://theparentcue.org). AND, for those families who love to interact with online options, in elementary world we have our Studio252.tv website which is PACKED with ways for families to share in the fun of what is being taught each month in 252 Basics!
The goal is not for every parent to engage with all of these tools, but to help every parent find a way that is appealing to them—AND that makes sense for the rhythm of their family to make the connection between church and home.
How do you know if you are winning in this area? Listen for what your parents are saying. Are they sharing stories about something that happened at home as a result of interfacing with one of these tools? To help with this, be sure you are providing avenues for them to share! A Facebook page, emails they can respond to, making yourself available in the hallways of your ministry so you can have face time with families. Give them easy ways to let you know. You could actually ask them about their experience with any of these tools—crazy, right? Engage. Let them know you care and keep the buzz going about ALL you offer to their families. Be encouraged! They will catch on as you begin to make this a part of the culture of your ministry!