“Partnering with parents” is a very popular phrase for those in children’s ministry and student ministry. We realize that (or we should realize) that this is one of the key relationships that we should foster as ministry leaders.
I have always struggled somewhat with what it means to truly partner with parents. Sure, we can send home a take-home page that reviews what was taught in class, knowing very well that these pages will either be left behind on Sunday mornings or serve as mats in the car. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s very important to put resources into the hands of parents. But we can’t stop there.
As I continue to wrap my brain around this concept, I am convinced more and more that true partnership is (1) each partner knowing what the common goals are, (2) knowing what role each partner plays in moving toward the common goals and (3) communicating effectively and regularly about the progress being made.
This weekend, I’ll wrap up teaching our three-week Communion class for 2nd-5th graders and their parents. Having the parents attend with their child is great because they are able to not only hear what we’re teaching their child but it allows them to engage in dialogue about their own spiritual walk right on the spot. (Parents are also provided a tool to use in continuing the conversation at home about what was provided in class.)
In my opinion, true partnership between the church and parents happens when there is conversation between them as well as resources being put into the hands of the parents. There is also a responsibility for ministries to encourage and provide venues for conversation between parents and children.
For the past two weeks, I have witnessed parents and children talking at the tables and parents helping their children understand what it means to be loved by Christ, forgiven and welcomed at The Lord’s Table. Parents were happy to share and children sat in awe of hearing their parents share with them. It was priceless exchange. No take home page could replace that.
What are your thoughts? How do you partner with parents in your ministry? If you’re a parent, what ways does your church help you to be a better parent and spiritual leader?