One of the constant things that student pastors discuss is parents and how they can better train and keep them informed. This is a tough one, and our ministry is still working on it, and we have a long way to go, but I would like to share what we are doing to keep our parents informed. Here is my goal, I would like for every parent to know what is going on in the Grove student ministry early. I hate when a parent says, “I did not know about this event, or that you were teaching on that.” Granted, many times it is their fault for not looking, but you must meet them where they are, and make every effort to get the information to them. I am trying to eliminate that, and meet them where they are. Here are a few things that we do to keep parents informed:
- Parent meetings– We do a few of these a year. We are actually trying to improve our meetings, and make them more beneficial and worth the parents coming. In our parent meetings, I try to discuss our vision, what we are teaching on, upcoming events, and spend a few minutes training them on an issue that affects their students from a Biblical perspective. If you do not do parent meetings, you have too! This is vital. Just a note, have food at your meeting!
- Parent Newsletters– This is very popular for student pastors to do. I have tried creating newsletters in about every format known to man! I have learned that parents are not always that interested in the flashy look, they are more interested in content. For us, the flashy is sometimes just as important, and we end up spending a lot of unnecessary time on the flash look of the newsletter when parents want to see the content. I send out a weekly Grove newsletter. I have found that so much happens in a month that parents forget things so I do a weekly newsletter. I use mailchimp, and you are welcome to check out our newsletters. I usually post them on here for any parents who follow my blog.
- Social Networking Sites– Facebook is the biggest way that we connect with our parents. I can throw something on facebook, and get a better response than a parent newsletter. Most of my parents are on facebook. I also post to twitter and my blog. I try to hit every possible way that the parents could see it.
- Website– I used to think that we had to have a student ministry website, and it was difficult to keep that up as well as the church one (my responsibility here at the church). We recently moved to cloversites for our website, and we love it. Since then, I began posting all of my Grove stuff to the church website. You can check out the Grove page here. It is just a page with different tabs that is on our church website. I post upcoming events, forms, downloads, and photos to that site.
- Church Bulletin Announcements– We are a bit old-fashioned, and still have a Sunday bulletin. Many churches have gone away from this traditional format, but we still run bulletins each week. I always put our announcements months in advance in the bulletin for parents to see.
- Calendar of events sheet– I post a simple upcoming events page on the website and I pass it out to parents monthly so that they can post it on the refrigerator or in front of them. It has the date, cost, time of every event for about 8 months out. I update it each month for them. Parents need to be informed early about upcoming events. If your calendar is not planned further than 2 months out, I would encourage you to work at planning a year calendar.
If you are doing something that is keeping your parents informed, please let me know, because we always want to be as innovative as possible in connecting and informing our parents.