Does your church have an education ministry during the week — something we like to call church weekday education (CWE)? These can include preschool, Parents’ Morning Out, school or after school care. Is your church making the most of the opportunities to engage with families who use these ministries? Many of them may not be connected to a local church, yet they have entrusted you with their most precious gift — their child. Here are some practical ideas to help build relationships with these families:
- At the start of each school year, have a time of commissioning for your CWE ministry during a morning worship service. Invite the staff of the ministry and the families who will be attending your ministry in the coming year. Recognize and pray for them during the service.
- Enlist church members to assist with meeting and greeting families during the drop-off and pick-up of children, at special events and other times when parents are on campus. As relationships develop, members can invite CWE families to other church events.
- The pastor and preschool/children’s minister should be visible to parents. They should attend special events, assist with chapel services, occasionally be present during drop-off and pick-up, visit the classrooms and make efforts to be relational with the parents, students, weekday ministry directors and weekday staff.
- Invite CWE parents to share their gifts in the classroom. They may have a special talent such as art, storytelling or puppetry. They can share about their profession, such as a firefighter, dentist, nurse or scientist. Or they can offer assistance with special projects like helping with messy art, substituting in the classroom or gathering materials used in the classrooms.
- During special times in the lives of the CWE families, the church should respond. When a family member is sick, in the hospital, has just experienced the birth of a baby, or perhaps upon a death in the family, the church should make contact. This contact may be a visit, card, meal, flowers or some other appropriate act of ministry. Sunday School classes or small groups can be assigned to a CWE class at the beginning of the year and may be asked to be responsible for this role.
- Have a parent appreciation event each year. Ask church members to provide breakfast or light lunch for CWE parents to show how much the church values them and appreciates them trusting your ministry to care for and teach their children.
- Ask the church to establish a scholarship fund to help families who are struggling to make tuition payments for the CWE. The weekday ministry team can establish guidelines for how the funds will be distributed.
- In registration packets, ask parents if they would like to receive more information about the church. Refer affirmative responses to a church leader for follow-up with those parents.
- Include information on the church website about the CWE ministry, such as classes offered, hours of operation and contact information. Likewise, the CWE website should include information about the church, such as times of worship, ministries and contact information. Both websites should make it easy to find information about all ministries and who to contact for more information.
- Most importantly, pray! The church, as well as the weekday staff, should be intentional about praying for families who attend your CWE ministry.
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