So we have taken some big strides in our Parent Ministry (follow us on Instagram @parentministry and @marinersjhm if you’re interested) and its been a fun journey. We just had an event that was very well attended. It was a Parent Learning Lab on Social Media with Adam Mclane from The Youth Cartel and co-author of A Parents Guide to Social Media.
It was a big moment for me, for our ministry at Mariners Church, and for me as a leader. Some parents commented on how highly attended this event was. Others talked about parent events they’d attended in the past that looked more like ghost towns. So how did we find success? Well I’ll be honest, we had to “romance” our parent ministry.
Let me tell a short story. I’m married now, and when I was about 3 months in to being a newly wed some one tough me a great lesson. Romance starts in the morning. See, if i wake up, make a mess, leave the trash, go surf, leave my sandy clothes for her to clean up, and then expect dinner when I get home… well, when the sun goes down she is not going to be in a very romantic mood. She is going to feel tired, devalued, like an object, like she is only good when I want her and that her feelings are not on my mind other times. Crazy example, but if you’re married you’re totally with me.
Back to parent ministry. Parent ministry is finally working for us because we never just “have” an event, or “have” a parent night. We spend our time romancing that ministry every week. We commit to emails every week and we make them good – not a waste of our parents’ time to read.
We make time to be around parents so if they need to talk, they are not fighting for an appointment or a quick word on sunday. We want them to leave feeling valued and heard.
We meet parents on their turf. We don’t always ask them to come to us. We have dinner at their houses and our staff are the ones who initiate it.
We spend significant time romancing our parent ministry. So when the time comes to have a big event, we have built into our culture that we are for families and for parents. Our parent ministry is not just a thing on the calendar, its our culture, and parents know that. And when they tell their friends about it, then the real fun begins.
See, parents talk about everything. And they have opinions. They talk about things they like and things they don’t like. They talk about our good services and bad services. They talk to their friends about their students ministry and whether or not they, as a parent, feel like they’re treated as a spectator or as a foundational part of the their students’ lives.
If you’re trying to improve your parent ministry, try these 3 things:
1. Do an email every week.
Even if you don’t think they will read it, some of them will. Commit to it every week and make the content good. Include a little note from the pastor, what you’re teaching, what events are coming up next. Parents love being kept in the loop.
2. Make time, make time, make time.
Make time to meet with parents in your area and make time to meet them in their areas too. Be available to them at least once a month. That sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t need to be a big deal. It’s simply meeting with people, talking with them, praying with them, sharing stories and getting to know them better and creating time for them to get to know you better.
3. Pick some books that parents will benefit from.
Buy some to keep in your youth room information area, or share links in your emails so they can buy them online. All parents want to learn more on how to love and understand their kids. Give them those chances.