How to … engage with unchurched parents

Tirzah L Jones

It should be no surprise to us that parents have the greatest influence over their children’s outlook on life, especially when it comes to matters both moral and spiritual. For many churches they find that getting the kids to youth group is far easier than getting parents to darken the doors of the church.

It’s vital we engage with parents about who we are and what we are teaching their children.

Love the Parents

We need to get to know the parent as much as we do the child, find out about their jobs, families and interests, and invest time in just chatting with them.

Love their child

Demonstrate you are not trying to brainwash their child but are genuinely concerned for them – the fastest way to break the ice with a parent is to show how much you care for their children, sadly, parents often follow the fads and fazes of their children’s interests.

Look for opportunities

  • Have a leader each week, dedicated to meeting the parents at the door, welcoming them and their children and chatting with them for as long as necessary
  • Learn their names and who they are related to (harder in a large group)
  • Learn their family situations so you don’t make unfortunate mistakes
  • If you are collecting children from their house, go to the door and wait for the child don’t just stay in the car
  • Have evenings where parents are invited along to the club
  • If you are delivering letters or invites don’t just put them through the door … ring the bell and chat for a few minutes
  • If you know of an illness, bereavement, crisis etc call round and visit
  • Hold a parents only evening, maybe a meal with a short talk

In effect we must take every opportunity possible to chat with and engage parents, so that when the time comes for you to invite them to a service or an evangelistic meeting they know you and other leaders and some of the ‘threat’ of the environment is lessened.