On Tuesday, we started talking about reaching out to parents who do not attend our church. You guys had some great additions! Here are a few other ‘field tested’ tricks I use to begin building friendships with parents who may not be part of our faith community…
6. Brag on their student. Most parents only see the ugly underbelly of raising a teenager. Any encouragement you can send their way is like using the lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. And to most parents, it feels like there’s that much at stake!
7. Don’t forget them when the kids are gone. When kids graduate and go to college, stay connected to mom and dad. Ask how they are doing in the transition. Send them an ’empty nester’ care package. (I don’t know what you should put in it – what do you think??!)
8. Offer tangible parenting help. True – some parents (maybe most) will not take advantage of workshops, conferences, or retreats. But that does not absolve us from the responsibility to provide them. Throw a book, website, or podcast their direction when you think of it (and not just when they’re asking for it.)
9. Walk their kid to the door. When you are playing church taxi cab, walk the student to the door. It may be a 4-second ‘Texas-nod-of-hello-that-speaks-we’re-friendly-folks-down-here’ through a half cracked entry because mom doesn’t want you to see how dirty the living room is – but you made eye contact on their turf with their kid in tow!
10. Never, ever let them sit in church alone! When you get an unchurched parent in the doors of your church, make sure you (or someone on your team) greets them (and not with the ‘OHMYGOD! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU ACTUALLY CAME!! surprised greeting), sits with them, and introduces them to some folks after service is over.
Parents are the greatest faith influencers teenagers have…even the parents who do not attend church. Make sure you create connection with them – it’s an investment in your student ministry — and the Kingdom of God.
How do you impact that part of God’s Kingdom in your sphere of influence?