Anthony Morehead has served as the lead student pastor at Calvary Church in Fort Worth, Texas for the past eight years. He has a true love for people and his heart is to invest in the lives of those around him. He is married to the love of his life Erin. They have an amazing son Xander whom their lives would not be the same without. PS – Anthony also has the distinction of being this blog author’s brother! You can follow him @anthonymorehead.
AO PARENT OVERVIEW STRATEGY
Hey guys! I am honored to talk to you about one of my main passions – Parents! Yes, you read that right! The saying is so true, “If you can win the parent over then you have a really good chance of winning the student over.” As Lead Student Pastor of, “All Out Student Ministries,” we do our best to help parents stay connected and in the loop with everything we do. Here are just a few things that we do at AO to help parents stay connected:
At the beginning of the year we have one big parent meeting. This is a great chance for us to meet new parents/students and reconnect with those that have gone missing. In this meeting we cast vision for the whole year and we put in their hands a paper that has ALL the events and cost for that year (AO 2016 INFORMATION SHEET INCLUDED BELOW).
Yes, this is crazy hard work but this is a huge WIN in the parents eyes. They love that we are prepared and have our stuff together. I also talk about the different series that we will be teaching their students.
We also do a parent meeting the Sunday before any overnight trip right after the 2nd service. In this meeting we put in their hands a paper that has all the information for the trip. Things such as where we are going, what time to meet, what time we will be back, how much the trip cost, what they should bring, and a list of all the leaders and their phone numbers. Parents love information.
It’s also important to keep in mind the phrase, “DEATH BY MEETINGS.” This simply means don’t OVER meet and keep your meetings to the point. I only meet with my parents about 4-5 times a year. They are totally fine with that.
Once a month I mail out a schedule for the whole month. We call this our N-Touch. It’s simply keeping parents in touch with everything we are doing that month in our student ministry. It will have the series we are doing, which Friday night we are going to play putt-putt, etc. The main thing with this is consistency! Keep it simple and something that is do-able for YOU.
WEBSITE/ SOCIAL MEDIA
It’s important to have a presence on the web. There are a million different ways you can do this, but for parents I keep it simple by doing two main things. First, we have a really nice website. Websites have really become affordable and easy to develop. You can find ours at www.aostudentministry.com. On the website parents can find everything all in one place. Anything from a parent meeting goes on the website, the monthly N-Touch, current series, pictures from last event and Wednesdays, it all goes on the website. The second thing we do is facebook. IT’S FREE!!!! Make sure at the very least you have a solid, updated, Facebook page.
We use a company called http://www.textmarks.com. They will give you a keyword and number just for your group. You will then give this to your parents and they will become a member. There’s a cost depending on how many users you have. This is a one way group texting service. It’s just one more way I help parents stay connected. I use it for things like, letting parents know what time we will be home from the putt-putt event. Instead of hoping everyone in your group contacts their own parents… like that ever happens… you can do it from your end in just seconds. There are other texting services out there that are free like http://www.remind.com. You will just need to see what works best for you. I would highly recommend using some sort of text service.
Right outside our student worship center is what we call, “THE BOOTH.” This is a central location where we keep all our resources for our parents. Everything from our monthly N-Touch to current things their students maybe facing. We always have on hand printed resources from ministries such as TeenLifeLine.org that our parents can take with them to better understand what their student maybe facing. The topics range from depression, bullying, eating disorder, drugs, alcohol, pornography, self harm, etc. We understand that students are not perfect and that they are facing real things. We want to do our part in helping them find freedom and live the life God has called them to.
Everyone likes a little attention. The parents of your students are no different. While at church, go out of your way to find parents just to touch base with them. “LIKE and COMMENT,” on their stuff on Facebook/Social Media. Give their students individual attention by attending school lunches, games, and events. This is probably my absolute favorite thing to do. Every week I’m looking for ways to praise students. I do this many different ways. I love writing parents a hand written card letting them know how great their student is doing. Trust me when I say you will get big mileage out of this!
This is just an outline of our parent connection strategy. The only wrong strategy for working with parents is to NOT have a strategy for working with parents. We try anything that works and our strategy sometimes changes from year to year. How about you? What is your parent connection strategy? I would love for you to post in the comment section what strategy you would add or delete to my list. Happy Planning.