Best Practices in Family Ministry

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Family Fridge Frame
One great idea we’ve used with families is really simple
but effective: Fridge Frames.
Kids decorate a simple 5×7 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 5×7 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.

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  • 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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