All of those who are in charge of running a children’s ministry for your church know how important it is to communicate with the various groups that you influence to run a successful children’s ministry. I want to briefly hit on some of these groups and let you know how I am currently communicating with them here at my church, Sheffield Family Life Center.
I will start today with:
Group 1: Parents
Parents are one of the primary groups with whom we need to communicate. If the parents don’t know what is going on then it is hard to have follow up, or have attendance at events, or create long term influence into the lives of the kids. Here are a few ways I communicate with the parents in my children’s ministry:
– Bulletin. I had to address the use of the bulletin with my team as soon as I arrived at my church in 2011. I use the bulletin very lightly. Anytime we think of using the bulletin I want us to think, ‘is this something the whole church needs to know about or be informed of?’ If so we will put it in the bulletin, if not there are better ways to get information out. Some general info that I will use the bulletin to help me advertise about would be: fund raising, camp announcements (not only does this inform the future campers and their families, but this will sometimes bring in donations that will help kids go to camp), special events needing volunteers that happen outside of regular ministry time, and recognition of volunteers for the great job they are doing. I NEVER recruit in the bulletin. I think recruiting needs to be done after we pray and ask God who we should approach, then we approach those people individually.
– Video announcements. This helps people to see me personally and to hear my heart clearly. Use this very sporadically as well. I will add these into the service announcement times and/or make them on one of my Mac’s and send them to parents individually. This is sometimes added to YouTube and I send the link out to parents so only they can see the video.
– Newsletters. I use these as monthly updates covering kids church themes, upcoming events, and to provide resources to help parents out. Don’t try to fill it up with pages of content, as this is what leads people to newsletter burnout, for those reading them and those creating them. Instead I would focus more on your consistency. Once you have a good flow for when you send them out, you should never have to load them up with a ton of stuff. Instead they can be filled with little bits to help make them more enjoyable. Two resources I will mention, even though there are a ton out there, would be Parent Link and Mail Chimp
– Flyers. I have never been a huge fan of fliers, even though they may be handy for community communication. But they should not be used for your in house communication to parents. I think when you use them with your church families they are a really great way to help line peoples bird cages or puppy potty training areas. Flyers just say, “I forgot to plan appropriately and so now I have to give you this”.
** Sidenote, for events instead of using a flyer, I will make tickets (even if the event is free) to give out to create excitement and advertise the event. It is also fun for the kids to grab some extra tickets to give out to their friends, and they can carry them better than a flyer.**
– Twitter. Twitter is a way that, if you have the parents that are on twitter, you can create an account for your children’s ministry and send out tweets for updates, shout outs, and (when you travel to events) you can keep families informed about how it is going. You can tweet photos and even points from your message that you want parents to know or talk about with their kids.
In closing, there are many different ways to successfully communicate with parents. I recommend choosing 2 or 3 ways at the most that will be used more naturally with your group of parents and just stick with those. That is unless you can build a team of people who will oversee all the different ways of communicating. Otherwise you can easily become overwhelmed just trying to keep parents updated and informed.