Did you know that the average fourth-grader will spend an estimated 400 hours this year playing video games or watching TV?
The same fourth-grader who consistently attends a church will only show up about 40 times in a given year. If you consider sickness, sports, holidays and random family issues, at best your church will only have about 40 hours to explain everything a child needs to know about God, the Bible and the Gospel.
That’s why you, as a church leader, have to make the most of what you do this Sunday. And what you do this Sunday should be amplified throughout the rest of the week. But given the short time you have with a kid, your influence is limited. One of the best ways you can increase your influence with a kid is to increase your influence with their parents.
Compared to 40 hours of potential influence a church has with a kid each year, the average parent or guardian has 3,000 hours of potential influence in the life of their child each year.
Most parents will have significant influence (whether positive or negative) in their own child’s life simply because of the amount of time they spend together. That’s why we say what happens at home matters more than what happens at church. Something changes in the culture of any church when leaders believe that.
If we, as leaders, can engage every parent to do something more at home, even something small, we can radically increase our influence in a kid or teenager’s life.
Engaging “every” parent to do something more may sound ambitious—or maybe even impossible. But what if you tried anyway? Our experience has been that when leaders act like parents can do something, parents will probably do more than they would have otherwise. The reverse is also true. When churches act like most parents will never do anything, then parents respond by not doing anything.
The point is, don’t give up on something that God has originally designed—the potential of the family—even if it seems broken or dysfunctional.
That’s why you need to spend time thinking about how you can influence any guardian, caregiver or parent to engage in a better strategy for their family.
I’m going to make a suggestion that I hope will revolutionize the way you see parents.
Things can sometimes appear a certain way . . . until you take a closer look. With a closer look, you’re able to see things differently. Some parents may seem totally disengaged with your ministry strategy until you adjust your focus and discover that they are actually partnering with you, but maybe in a way you weren’t anticipating. So, you have to adjust your view of parents in order to help them grow in their parenting.
What would happen if you decided to start seeing every parent inside your church, every parent outside your church, and every parent you come in contact with as a potential partner? And what if you make two big and important assumptions—that every parent wants to be a good parent, and that every parent wants to do something more?
What if every time you interacted with a parent in a restaurant, on a ball field, in your community, or inside your church, you would immediately begin to qualify how to help those parents become more AWARE, INVOLVED, ENGAGED and INVESTED in the spiritual growth and spiritual formation of their own children?
This blog article was excerpted from the e-single Partner at Every Level by Mike Clear. Get this entire e-single for free with a subscription to GoWeekly—a library of resources for church leaders. Learn more about GoWeekly at goweekly.com. For more e-singles about developing small group leaders and engaging parents, check out the You Lead Book Series on Amazon.