Have an overnight retreat that focuses on the
parent-child relationship. Design age-appropriate activities that
children and parents will enjoy. Emphasize cooperation more than
competition. Include a craft that parents and children can work on
together to keep as treasured mementos.
We have a parents orientation meeting to help parents understand
our children's dedication celebration. This might be the first
intergenerational event for parents and infants. We offer it during
our worship service so child care isn't a problem. Many parents
bring their babies to the orientation. We serve refreshments and
encourage parents to develop relationships with each other.
At another spiritual milestone in our church, we have a Baptism
Pizza Party for families. Parents, siblings, and baptized children
meet for a quick party after church. After dinner, each child is
called to the stage and affirmed for his or her spiritual growth.
Children receive public recognition, a baptism certificate, and a
Bible signed by their teacher and the children's pastor.
Whatever you do to integrate parents with children, keep it
simple and fun.
As you strategize and develop your family ministry, don't do it
alone. Some children's ministers fail at establishing family
ministry because they try it by themselves.
Genuine Christian community is intergenerational so include all
ages. Older children's input could increase your impact. For
example, you could ask fourth- and fifth-graders for fun game ideas
or suggestions for a parent-child campout. Some children's workers
and teachers may not have the time, but others will see how they
can maximize their ministries by establishing a partnership with
parents and children. Invite parents to give their input, but
assure them that they won't be manipulated into working.