Real quickly…today…I want to go through 6 ideas that will be our guide to Ministry to Parents. This is not ALL we will do…but they will help guide us as we move forward in our ministry efforts.
But first…let me ask THIS question:
“How do we engage parents, who act more like agents and personal assistants, to be the primary influence in their child’s spiritual formation?”
First…I’ve got to say…this generation of kids are very family oriented. When asked…the majority of these kids will say Mom or Dad is their hero…which is great! This is a fact that can offer all of us hope for this generation. But we must continue to engage parents..to be the parents.
Also…as we talk with most parents…they will say…with true sincerity…that they care about their kids. They wonder if they are really raising their kids well…and…I don’t know any parent who wants their kids to end up spoiled, misguided, or confused.
AND…if you asked many parents…especially NEW parents…they will say…point blank…“I never thought parenting would be as difficult as it has been.” And they’re right.
We want our kids to be safe. We want them to love Jesus. We hope they do well in school, have friends, behave in public and have great manners at the diner table. We work really hard at doing all of this…THEN…one morning we hear something from the basement. Whoa…“When (or where) did they learn THAT word?!” Well…somewhere between the school bus, some show on TV, or (perhaps) your road rage.
As parents, it’s too easy to coast. I think we’re all roller-coasters of involvement. It’s no wonder our kids are confused whether to call us friends or parents. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Parents are called to…PARENT.
Parents have exponentially more time with their kids than we do at the church.
How can we spend some of our resources helping parents be the best care-givers they can be?
Here are some principles that will guide our ministry with parents:
1. We WILL invite you along for the ride.
We often think that if parents want to know something that they’ll just ask. Or…if they don’t like something that they’ll just tell us. The truth is…it’s more likely…they’ll ask or tell someone else before they talk with us.
So…how are we going to invite parents into the right conversations? We’ll seek out their advice on their kids. We need to have their input. We can’t possibly implement everything they suggest…BUT…we can ask good questions…and listen. Our goal will be to partner with them…not the other way around. The more WE help parents understand that we’re here to HELP THEM…the more likely they will come to us with a need.
2. We WILL regularly communicate the vision.
We will take every opportunity to share our ministry goals with parents. We will do this in ways parents like receive information. We’ll look at use of social media…maybe a newsletter will work…or it may be through face-to-face conversations or even focus groups. But however we do it…we KNOW…we’ll need multiple avenues to communicate the same information to reach everyone.
We living in a information-saturated world, most people need to see or hear something at least seven times before they actually hear it.
3. We WILL harness the power of influence.
I pray we will always have AT LEAST one set of parents who are “on-board” with our plan (vision). We’ll look to inspire them to influence the other parents with whom they travel this journey. There is no way that any of us can know every single parent in our ministry…BUT…we can know several with whom we can (and should) partner to help other parents.
4. We WILL treat parents with respect.
This sounds obvious…but I’m pretty sure we (as leaders) can come across as arrogant sometimes. We may have the plan and the “expertise”…BUT…do we have the grace to deliver it in a way that doesn’t make a parent feel stupid? Truth be told…and it’s hard sometimes to admit this…we don’t have all the answers. Sometimes we have theory…but we don’t always have hard evidence that what we say will work in the lives of these kids. I believe…collectively…the parents in our ministry have more intelligence than I do…so we’ll approach them with humility.
5. We WILL provide Training Initiatives.
Many parents just don’t know where to start. We’ll hold training sessions. We already completed our first sessions in our WayPoint ministry training. We’ll hold more training events through WayPoint that will help our parents with practical information they can use immediately. We will also offer opportunities for parents to discuss solutions to the issues we all face and give them strategies to help them transform their family for the better.
6. We WON’T give up.
We understand…”change” doesn’t happen overnight. We promise not to get discouraged. We promise to keep investing our time into you…the parents. It’s easy to invest into your kids…they (usually) respond positively…no matter what. For parents…we understand…it’s just gonna take time.
So…we commit to these as we continue to build ways to partner with you…the parents. We pray you will join us on this journey…together.
God Bless…and thanks for reading along!!!
BridgeKidz Children’s Ministry
Ironbridge Baptist Church