“Sometimes Sunday feels like a blur.”

You hit the ground running with parents dropping off kids, trying to stick to the schedule, and before you know it, parents are lining up outside the door again! Your small group time comes and goes but when do you have time to connect with the parents? Do the parents even care about what took place during the service or are they just grateful to sit without interruption for a whole hour?

As a small group leader, this can be a common frustration. But as a parent of two preschoolers I’m here to tell you, I crave the feedback from whomever my children have spent the last hour with. I want to know what took place. Not because I’m paranoid, but because it helps me ask my kids key questions about what they learned. It helps me connect with them in a way I otherwise could not.

Parents love to hear positive things about their kids. They love seeing or hearing about their kids growing closer to God. They love knowing that the SGL spending time with their child each week truly cares. So how can you convey all this in the whirlwind of Sunday mornings?

Don’t despair! You don’t have to connect with every parent of every child every Sunday! Take the time to say something positive to a few parents each week. (not the same parents every week!) “John was very excited about our story this week!” or “Jane did a great job caring for others today.” Or, if pick-up time is too hectic, write a quick note. One of my favorite things to get from my son’s SGL is a little one or two sentence, hand-written note. Whether it’s a cute story, observation, or compliment, it makes this mama’s heart soar with pride (and tells me he has an SGL that really cares!)

Another great way to connect (without adding to the stress of Sunday morning) is through a monthly email to your small group parents. Make the first paragraph generic so that you can send it to every parent recapping the month with general information about the small group that you would want all the parents to know. Then add a sentence or two that is specific about each child and send it to each parent to make it feel customized. Short and sweet.

It’s also important to encourage parents to utilize the tools you’re giving them. A short and quick reminder to a parent of something specific from large group, small group or in the take home that would spur conversation is invaluable. (i.e. “Ask Suzy about the lion in our story today.”) I call these “spark starters.” It’s like clicking two rocks together to ignite a fire.

When you connect with parents in small, easy ways, it gives them the ability to connect and “win” with their child. Plus, it reminds them that they have an incredibly invaluable influencer in their child’s life: YOU!

What are some other ways you have found to connect with parents?

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Danielle Schneller

Danielle is a mom to three preschoolers. She has served in her local church as an SGL for all ages, pre-school through student ministry as well as recruited and trained small group leaders.

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