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Best Practices in Family Ministry

Family Fridge Frame
One great idea we've used with families is really simple but effective: Fridge Frames.
Kids decorate a simple 5x7 cardboard picture frame (available at craft stores) for their families and then attach a magnet to the back.

We let kids and parents know they can stick the Fridge Frame where the entire family can see it on the refrigerator. Each week we send home a new 5x7 card with the week's verse or Bible point we're studying printed on it. We encourage families to simply read the verse together at breakfast or dinner. This simple practice has been really effective at sparking faith discussions in families and helping kids and their parents see how God's Word applies to life today.
Jeanne Madden

Creative Coffee Chatter
Several years ago our church created a space for people to buy coffee and bagels. A great side effect of this mini Starbucks-like atmosphere has been that the small coffee nook creates significant opportunity for connections.

You don't have to build a mock-Starbucks to pull this off. Consider sprucing up your current coffee nook or repurposing your current coffee cart with intentionality. It's as easy as creating opportunities for you to sit with parents over coffee and have conversation around the start or end of a service time. Parents know that I'll be around for coffee before and after our children's programming. Here's the short list of topics I rely on, sometimes planned, sometimes off-the-cuff.

  • Get Acquainted
    We serve many parents who we really don't know. Engage in simple conversation to get to know them better, with no agenda except finding out more about who they are as individuals. When you know more about parents, you'll be able to serve them and their kids better.
  • Get "Fresh Eyes"
    Parents can give you valuable insight, observations, and opinions about what they see and feel in your ministry-and will be more willing to do so over a cup of coffee. Ask for their views and really listen, and you'll find they're empowered to share ideas often. It's guaranteed you'll get ideas to fine tune your ministry.
  • Give Support
    Use these coffee moments to offer ideas and resources for parents. For example, introduce a program such as Kid Unique (Group) that's designed to help parents learn about being spiritual leaders or ways to parent from a Christian perspective.
  • Give Ministry Updates
    Inform parents of upcoming events and dates in your ministry. Let them know how your summer camp fundraising is going. Talk about what kids are doing now. This casual update is a great way to keep parents in the loop and invite their thoughts on what your ministry is doing and where it's headed.
  • Give Recruiting a Chance
    I saved this for last. Rather than going in with a list of positions you need filled, continually keep the mindset that in the course of these coffee conversations, you may uncover an interest in serving or a hidden talent. I've found that this is often an unexpected bonus of investing a few minutes of friendly conversation with parents.
    Jay Hostetler

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