Have you ever been frustrated that the parents of the kids in your small group barely make eye contact with you each week? I lead a second grade small group at my church, and I’m familiar with the practice. Oftentimes, it seems like they’re in a hurry to get their child and get out! It’s hard to know how to get to connect with them when you can barely get to them to say hi. It’s a tension that has led me to wonder what I could do to get to know these families.
I decided to start adding these parents as friends on social media. I felt like this was a great way for them to get to know me without having to talk to me. I also started “liking” and adding comments on their pictures of their kids that were in my group. I try to always say something positive or something that their child did in small group that week.
What I have found is that the combination of giving these parents access to my life and also loving their child lends to parents letting their guard down and talking to me at drop off and pick up.
Something that is true in every generation is that parents love when other people like their kids! The truth is we have to teach parents, by our actions, that we are not just babysitting their kids while they themselves attend church! We have to prove this by showing up every week, knowing their children’s name, and consistently pursuing them. Parents aren’t always in the habit of inviting more people in their children’s lives, and so it falls on us to teach them.
Like it or not, the truth is that we live in a culture where we don’t do a lot of talking—not when we can do everything online! If you think about it, we can go an entire day without speaking a word. We can work from home, shop online, go to college online, and with texting, we don’t even have to talk on the phone! We are not in the habit of chit chatting. Maybe we don’t even know how to talk to each other anymore! So why not meet parents where they are—their computers, laptops, and cell phones. We may not get their eye contact, but we can get their attention by showing up where we know they are!
This is all new to most of us. Social media can be intimidating. But if we believe that as small group leaders, we can partner with parents and make a difference in the next generation, then we can’t continue business as usual. Families are different than they were twenty years ago. Families are raising their children in church, and then those same children are leaving it as soon as they are old enough. We cannot expect parents to come to us anymore. We have to make the effort and go to them because it matters!
By: Leslie Galema