As a small group leader, one of your goals is to partner with parents. You hope for the opportunity to team up with the parents of your few and make a combined impact on their faith development. But, often, this is easier said than done, solely based on the hectic nature of Sunday mornings. Parents rush through the check in process to get their child to your class so they can hurry to service on time. When service is over, there is another race to make it to the restaurant before the wait for a table exceeds the current patience level of their preschooler.  All of this rushing in and out make for a difficult time to get to know parents!

In addition, parents who see you in their child’s room each week, often assume that you are their child’s teacher or assistant, simply there to help them learn the day’s lesson. And while that is a great role, as a small group leader, you want to do more than that. You want parents to know that you are there consistently to help their child grow in his faith. And that you are there to partner with them to show their child what authentic faith looks like as well as to pray for their child specifically from week to week.

Beginning a relationship with parents takes a concerted effort and January brings a great opportunity to do just that! By launching a new project, you get an opportunity to connect with parents in a whole new way.  For example, you can tell parents that you are making this year a “Year to Remember!” by providing parents with one picture each month of their child. Here’s what I know about parents:

Parents love pictures of their kids.

Parents love that their kids are participating in class.

Parents love people who love their kids.

Take pictures of your preschoolers singing or doing the memory verse or working on a craft project during craft time. Each month, send at least one picture to the parents of them doing that.  You can simply text it to the parents or go all out and print the picture and place it in a photo album sleeve so it can be added to an album at home.

This is a simple connecting point with parents. The fact that you’re doing it as a reminder of the entire year makes it feel less awkward for those families that you don’t know well yet. Once you have connected over your “Year to Remember” pictures, you can begin to have conversations about how you can pray for their child. Parents may begin to confide in you about struggles and/or fears that their child is having—whether it’s that they are afraid of the dark or struggling with the arrival of a new baby to the family.

It’s a place to begin to connect. And January is a natural time for beginnings, so take the step, and help make this year truly one you will remember; the year that you connected with your parents in a whole new way!

What ways have you found to be successful in making a personal connection with parents?

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Barbara Graves

Barbara loves God, children's ministry, coffee, the Braves, and her granddaughter Eden-Grace. She's been in ministry for over 30 years and wishes she didn't have to sleep so she could write, teach, and read a little more.

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