When I began working with our children’s ministry program, I spent the first few weeks observing and talking with parents. The two predominant requests that came from parents were (1) open and consistent communication and (2) earlier meeting time. We fixed the second request by moving our Wednesday night meeting time from 7:00 to 6:30pm. This way, parents could get their kids home, bathed, and in bed for at a decent time for school the next day.
In order to provide more open and consistent communication, we started a newsletter. The newsletter featured what the kids were learning that night, the activities they participated in, and their memory verse for the week. We used it to announce upcoming events such as Family Movie Nights and summer camp dates. In the newsletter sidebars, we gave shout-outs to upcoming birthdays and shared funny stories from the ministry. Finally, whenever we made any kind of change – a change in curriculum, a change in classroom structure, new prizes, we made sure parents were aware of the change in the newsletter.
Parents loved it. They always made sure to come back to the registration table to grab a copy. Parents were more on-board with the program once they knew more about what we were teaching and the activities were planning. We had parents regularly bringing in supplies and offering to help where they could. We’ve been using the newsletter for over three years now, and have recently updated to email newsletters through Aweber as well. We also post the newsletter on the church’s website and sometimes mail it to parents who miss a week of church.
Others in the church also take newsletters – Sunday School teachers, the pastor and his wife, and older people. I’m grateful for this because I know these faithful friends are covering the ministry in prayer. This is what keeps our program continuing. We can never have enough prayer for these kids.
Recently, I’ve been using the Newsletter to do media reviews – for music, movies, and other popular trends. I find most of my information for these reviews at Focus on the Family’s Plugged In Online. Parents and kids really seemed to appreciate this.
I also use the Newsletter to recognize those that help out the Children’s Ministry program. If someone donated supplies, I make sure to thank them in the Newsletter. If a volunteer went above and beyond, they were featured in the Newsletter. If someone came to teach a “guest” lesson or help with a particular project, I try to take the time to recognize them and let them know they are appreciated. Things like this go a long way in keeping people involved in the ministry and encouraging others to join the team. People need and deserve to be appreciated. A newsletter is a great opportunity to do things like this. Children’s ministry can be challenging at times. It takes time and effort, and people need to know that they are making a difference.
How do you keep communication open with parents and members of your ministry?