The biggest determinate of whether a child will have faith as an adult is the faith of their parents. Parents are the primary educator. Parents are the primary model of faith.
If you are to be effective in your ministry with children and youth, then your communication with parents is key.
Nothing is more important than when you meet a parent in person.
Parents who drop their child off at your ministry are putting tremendous trust in you. They are expecting that the time the child spends with you and your ministry is going to be great. They are expecting that the experience of your ministry is going to be positive for them.
Therefore, the impression that you make on parents is absolutely essential.
Do me a favor: In your minds eye, look at yourself in the mirror. What do parents see in you? Is it positive or negative? How do you talk with parents? Does it build trust? Does it give them confidence that their child is in a good place?
For better or worse, a parent judges a ministry a lot by their judgment and reaction to who you are. What image are you portraying?
When a parent meets you, they want to have a sense that your ministry is going to be a valuable experience for their child. Unfortunately, they can often judge this by their initial conversation with you. Give yourself no more than 5 minutes to make a positive impression on them. Here are 5 things that you should consider when communicating with parents for the first time:
- Speak highly of their child. Hopefully you know their child already. In the first minute of conversation, take a few moments to say something positive about their child. Be truthful and honest. Every parent loves to hear about how great their child is.
- Always have the best interest of their child in mind. This could be about safety. This could be about spiritual health. Do not talk about experiences that might cause a parent to question whether or not their child is safe with you.
- Have a servant’s heart. Let the parent know that you are there to serve them and their family. Let them know that if they can contact you anytime if they need anything from you.
- Don’t expect them to give to or volunteer in your ministry just because their child is involved. This is connected to having a servant’s heart. If you serve their family well, they are going to want to support your ministry in the future.
- Explain the value of your ministry in 30 seconds. Have a well articulated “elevator speech” prepared for why your ministry is valuable and why they should be involved. Imagine you have the length of an elevator ride from the 1st to the 7th floor to explain the basics of your ministry. That short elevator ride should be enough to encourage them to sign their child up for your ministry.
Parents are the gatekeeper to getting their children involved in ministry. Do these 5 things well and you are well on your way to not only have their child involved, but also getting parents more involved in the church.
Question: In what ways have you positively or negatively effected a parents’ decision to have their child or youth involved in your ministry?