Failure to inform parents about your ministry and its activities will limit your ministry’s impact on your students. The world we live in has families going in so many different directions and parents are the ones who are right there in the middle of it all. Many juggle work, soccer practice, making dinner, going to the bank, buying groceries, etc… See what I mean? Therefore, it is important for us as men and women who work with student worship leaders to clearly communicate with the parents of our students.
SCHEUDLE A PARENT MEETING
I try to meet with parents twice a year. Once in January and once at the start of a new school year. I try to keep these meetings under 45 minutes. Parents are busy, so don’t waste their time with lots of fluff. Here is an outline of what these meetings normally entail:
- Welcome/Opening prayer — 4 minutes
- Discuss what we have accomplished since we last gathered (I try to brag on their students and the ministry they do each week.) — 8 minutes
- Explain our mission and vision statements — 10 minutes
- Discuss the requirements for being part of the worship team, the expectations for students and their parents — 8 minutes
- I always end these meetings by having parents pray aloud for their student worship leader. For many, this is a special time for families.
Here are a few things to remember before you meet with parents:
- Have everything ready and be prepared. Set-up your PowerPoint or Keynote before anyone arrives. If possible, print important information and place in each seat. This will keep you from having to pause your meeting for a parent who is running late.
- If you can, have childcare available for these meetings. Your parents will love you if you can offer safe, FREE childcare during your meeting. Let parents know this service will be available and make sure they know where to go to drop-off their children.
Because I have a large team, I always try to plan and schedule who is leading at least a month or two in advance. The main reason I do this is because I want to know if a student can or cannot be at a rehearsal or help lead worship. There’s nothing worse than a parent calling you the week-of and saying, “Johnny can’t be there this week because of ___________,” and you having no one to take his place. Most of the time schedules can help you avoid problems like this.
FIND THE MOST EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION PLATFORM AND STICK TO IT
I use several platforms for communicating schedules, upcoming events, and other ministry related information to my student’s parents. The main platform I use is Planning Center Online (see more on this resource below). I also email and print schedules for my students and their parents once a month. There are several ways you can communicate with parents. What you as the leader must do is find the most efficient way of communicating with your parents and stick to it. Don’t jump from platform to platform or try to use every new app that pops into the app store. Keep it simple!
Planning Center Online— I highly recommend using this website. This is such a powerful tool for worship leaders. It does cost money to use, but it will save you so much time and energy.
PRINT AND SHARE– Each month I print out paper copies of our schedules. This is still an effective method for sharing schedules, and most of my parents prefer this method.
EMAIL– Though your students may not use email, I can guarantee their parents probably do. I email out a PDF of our monthly schedule to every parent (via Planning Center Online) so that they can print a copy, but for events and ministry news I use a website called MailChimp.
MailChimp is an awesome way for you send professional looking emails that take little to no effort to create. Best of all their basic account is FREE! There are hundreds of ways you can use MailChimp for your ministry and make your life easier.
WEBSITE OR BLOG- Create a free website using WordPress.com, Blogger.com or your church/youth group’s website to post important information such as schedules, set list and event information. If you want to get fancy, you can link items to a Dropbox account where parents and students can download PDF files, music, MP3s, etc. If you choose to do this, make all your posts private. Create a password so only those who have the password can view your information.
TEXT MESSAGING- I am not a fan of communicating schedules and events with parents via text message. My fear is that my message will be lost amongst the hundreds of other messages parents receive. It is a modern method of communication, but not an effective nor professional one to use with parents.
What are some of the ways you communicate with your parents? What have you found works best?