What Parents Need Most From You

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Baby boomer parents are flocking back to the church. And the
children’s ministry is one of the first things they check out when
they visit a new church.

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Doug Murren writes in The Baby Boomerang, “We boomer
parents want to know if your churches are ready to invest in our
kids. If we boomers are going to stick around, we are really going
to need your help with our children.”

But many parents are sorely disappointed in what they’re
finding.

“Many of the baby boomers who returned to church after an
extended period of — i.e., for the sake of their children — are
now leaving the church again, disappointed that they did not
receive greater benefits for their investment,” writes George Barna
in his book What Americans Believe.

What do parents today really need or expect from your Christian
education program? Here are questions parents have of your program
but don’t often ask.

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TAKING A CLOSER LOOK

Answer these questions to determine if your program meets
parents’ expectations. Get parents to complete the “Parent Survey.”
Then use the teacher training meeting to determine any changes that
need to be made.

1. Does your commitment to children shine through everything you
do?
2. Is it obvious that your senior pastor really loves kids?
3. Does your program teach children in appropriate age
groups?
4. Is your children’s program more than just a baby-sitting
service?
5. Are lessons tailored to different learning styles?
6. Do activities and events conflict with or complement the family
activities common to your community, such as soccer or school
events?
7. Will your program support parents in their parenting?
8. Will children be safe in your program?
9. Are teachers motivated to be there, or are they just putting in
their time?
10. Do teachers make the Bible come alive for kids?
11. Are kids learning basic biblical content?
12. Does your curriculum make the Bible relevant to kids’
lives?
13. Do teachers know more about each child in their class than just
his or her name?
14. Do teachers regularly let parents know what their child is
learning?
15. Do teachers give parents insight into how their child is
developing spiritually?
16. Does the children’s minister effectively communicate with
parents on a regular basis?

PROGRAMMING THAT’LL MAKE PARENTS HAPPY

If you want to please baby boomer parents with your children’s
ministry, implement these ideas from The Baby Boomerang.

  • Make your facilities appealing to kids. Show
    parents that kids are a priority in your church by having
    kid-friendly, colorful, clean rooms.
  • Be visitor-friendly. Make it easy for visiting
    families to find where to take their children. Post greeters at key
    areas to help bewildered visitors.
  • Train teachers. Choose gifted teachers and
    then equip them to be their very best. Help them understand what’ll
    bring the Bible to life for their students.
  • Plan innovative activities. Baby boomers love
    innovation. Have your greeters wear creative outfits. Plan creative
    ways to do old activities. Brainstorm creative new activities. Let
    your mind go wild!
  • Encourage positive pastoral comments. Murren
    never mentions the children’s ministry in his church when they need
    workers. He waits until the ministry is well-stocked and then asks
    the church to show teachers their appreciation. His church gives
    out several plaques a year to honor workers.

Debbie Trafton O’Neal is an educator and parenting
specialist in Washington state.


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