Our pastor has said to our team many times that it’s more important for parents to be the heroes in the lives of our kids—not the kid’s pastor. Most leaders would agree with this statement, however few take steps to make it happen. We all want to be great leaders, to impact kids and create environments they love to be in. It feels great when kids look up to us. But we should be happier hearing, “You’ve really assisted me in raising my kids. Thank you!” than “My kids think you’re amazing!”
Sometimes kid’s pastors don’t intend to be the hero in a child’s life; it’s the side effect of a fun, engaging and effective ministry. Therein lies the problem though—it’s not intentional. As kid’s pastors, it’s important that we’re backing parents up and setting them up for success.
Here are six ways to set dad and mom up for a win:
1. Get to know the parents. We don’t spend enough time getting to know the people we are ministering to. We’re so focused on ‘doing ministry’ that we forget we’re dealing with real people. Spend time with families. Get to know as many as you can. This will help you understand how to minister to the families in your church and give you the opportunity to really make an impact.
2. Try not to go against what the parents have said. Maybe you feel it’s best to start your day off in prayer, yet a parent believes that you should set aside time after lunch. Don’t tell the kids that their parents are wrong. That’s the opposite of setting parents up for a win. Instead, focus on the positives of praying after lunch.
3. Address major issues in private. Don’t be afraid to talk to parents about big issues, or to gently confront them if they’re in the wrong. Listen to them and give them solid biblical guidance, but do this in private. Don’t ever correct or admonish a parent in public or in front of a their child—or any child for that matter.
4. Don’t speak negative of parents—EVER! If you use parents as examples in a teaching, don’t use them in a negative light. It’s not funny to demean even a “made up” parent as a joke. You want to always make sure you speak with honor and respect when talking about parents. If anything, use yourself as the negative example while using parents as a positive example.
5. Go out of your way to make parents look amazing. When a child is being checked out of classroom and you see his mom, tell the child how awesome his mom is. If you have a story about something good a child’s dad did, share it. In other words, talk parents up!
6. Create an event you facilitate that parents lead or participate with their kids that reinforce their role as the spiritual champion of their household. Set them up with discussion great discussion questions, guidance or answers to some tough questions that reinforces the bond and trust between them and their child.
We can and should support parents and teach our kids that the real hero in the room is the one they live with, the one who loves them more than anyone else ever will. It has never been about us and never should be. It’s about setting parents up to be forever heroes in the eyes of their kids!