One of our amazing readers wrote to us wanting to connect with families who aren’t regularly at church. We hear you! This can be a tough thing. Read on for our five wildly effective ways to stay connected.
Do you have even more ideas to share? Tell us in the comments below!
Why You Need to Connect with Families
There are so many reasons why families may not be at church regularly. As a ministry leader, it may be easy to assume it’s because they don’t like something you’re doing. However, this is most likely not the case.
Families may not be attending church regularly because…
- Parents are working long hours or traveling a lot for their job.
- Families are navigating co-parenting and children living in two homes.
- Children have scheduling conflicts with their extra-curricular activities.
- Parents feel unsure while contemplating their own theology and religious affiliation.
- New babies are throwing off their mornings and/or evenings.
- Homework is keeping kids home.
- Families feel disconnected from the community because they aren’t there often. So, they attend even less.
Keep in mind how busy families are and remember that context. Packed schedules and complex dynamics make it difficult to say yes, even to the things we really want to be doing in our lives.
Connect with Families Purposefully
So, what’s your role given that some of this may be true? You need to be doing two main things: connecting to the families and connecting the families to the community.
And here’s the cool thing. The families who aren’t at church regularly are going to feel more a part of the church. But, so are the families who are there regularly. Everyone will feel the improvement when these efforts are made.
How can you do this effectively? Read on for a few ideas we hope will help in both of these efforts!
Connect with Families Even When Apart
Stay in touch.
Families who aren’t present regularly can feel forgotten. So, be sure to connect with families regularly even if they aren’t at church. Send a text checking in. Be sure they’re on the email blast. Send birthday and holiday cards to them. Invite them personally to special events.
If families are hearing from you in only one way, it can feel contrived. They may feel like there’s a list they’re on (which is probably true, but still…) and they’re only getting contacted because of that.
So, vary in your contact with them. Text, email, snail mail are all great options. Also, vary the person who contacts them. Share this responsibility across several people. For example, perhaps the pastor sends an email checking in. Then the ministry director sends the email blast and sets up a lunch date. And the Sunday school teacher comments on their social media posts. And a friend of the family invites them to a special upcoming event.
If your church doesn’t have an online presence, that needs to change. It just does. Too many of our churches don’t have a person heading up digital communications. If your church is one of them, just create a profile for your ministry to connect with families.
Your families are online all the time. It’s an easy way to connect to all of them with little effort.
Learn how to use social media to communicate with your families. And post 1-3 times a day.
Communicate service opportunities.
Most families aren’t finding ways to serve others. And this is a value for so many parents, especially in their children’s development. However, it can be hard to know where to look for opportunities. So, connect with families around service.
For this reason, events where families can serve together and make a difference tend to be well-attended. This is great news for everyone. It connects the congregation and the congregation to the community.
Share education resources.
Parents very often have little to no idea how to do spiritual formation with their children. As a result, if families aren’t at church, the kids aren’t learning about their faith.
So, share resources with them. Send them a new book to read together each month. Send a weekly email with the Sunday School topic and discussion questions for them to use at home.
We Want to Hear From You!
Do you have more ideas to share with the IM community? We’d love to hear from you! In the comments below tell us how you connect with families who aren’t regularly at church.