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The Family Side of Change

During this Orange Week 2.0, I’ve covered many of the reasons and thoughts behind why we have made a transition to the Orange Curriculum package of 252 Basics and First Look.  But what about the family side (RED) of this change?

Let me be honest about something.  A family ministry is NOT started with a curriculum change. Curriculum is a tool, and so far I do love the Orange curriculum; however, it’s still just a teaching model.  But there is a great potential for reaching out to parents and engaging with the RED side of the Orange environment.

It’s simple really.  It all starts with the take-home page.

We’ve all done take-home pages, right?  I’ve done it for years, only to discover once my kids were old enough to get take-home pages that they go unused.  Why do they go unused?  Because anything I get on a Sunday Morning, in the hectic environment of dismissal will be lost.  There is just something about that crazy, pickup your kids, gather all the crafts, and get to the car that leave take-home pages unused.   But 252 Basics and First Look create quite a conundrum.  The God Time and Small Talk take-home pages are great, but how can I get these to parents and avoid the confusion of it being a take-home item?

A solution to the problem?

We’ve decided to distribute take-home pages through email.  But we’re being very intentional about it.  Parents at Trinity Church can only sign-up for the pages via the website at parents.trinitykidsplace.com.  Once signed up, they will receive the appropriate take-home kid for their child at 3:00pm on Sunday Afternoon.  It is perfect?  No, but it’s something.  With only Facebook promotion on our parent sign-ups, we have 25 families receiving the weekly email.  That’s a win.  We’re establishing a schedule of promoting the website on the first Sunday of every month with take-home pages, and then we’ll let it rest for 3 weeks.  Then hit it again the next month.

But what’s next?

I’ve got a list now of 25 families that have jumped through a minor hoop to continue the conversations at home from what their kids are hearing at church.  See where I’m going with this?  I now have a list of those parents and families most interested in the things that I want them to be interested in.  I now have a list of the families to promote the new Cue Box too.  What’s the CUE BOX?  Clickety-click to read more.  Combined with 252studio.tv and the CUE Box, I can help families engage with the bright YELLOW side of the Orange environment.

Let’s be honest please…

This is just one small step in what I hope will be combined with many of the other things we’ve done to engage parents.  When combined with our Baptism process and Child Dedication experience and Family Friendly events; it is my prayer and hope that we can shine our bright YELLOW and engage the deep RED of the families at Trinity.



Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.

12 Comments

  1. Brandon · October 1, 2010

    Good info…thanks for letting us know it is okay to “only have ” 25 families sign up, because it is 25 families who are being impacted. I know we can all get easily entangled in thinking that we have to have a “large” number of people involved for something to be a success, but many times it takes a little thing to make a little difference to make a big difference.

  2. Jeff · October 2, 2010

    I am very interested to hear these discussions. Being a new kids pastor and looking for good curriculum has me interested in what 252 Basics does for kids, but I also want to see what I teach to influence the home and get parents empowered for the responsibility of their own kids spiritual growth.

    Jeff

  3. Sarah Pickering · October 2, 2010

    For a while I have been emailing the take home stuff to parents as, I agree, paper gets lost in the van on the way home, if it even makes it that far. This was good and some used it but it didn’t help the children see their parents as the leaders so this year we have tweaked it and are doing something new.
    Our church has everyone from age 2 – adult on the same passage on Sunday morning so we prep as a staff and meet to talk about themes and ideas at staff meeting. From there we send the parents an email on the Wednesday with the passage for the Sunday coming, questions to help them talk about it with preschoolers, elementary kids and everyone else and a memory verse that they teach their kids and we test at Kids Church on Sunday morning or a family challenge. This way we equip the parents to be the primary leaders of their own kids and we back them up in the kids groups on Sunday morning.
    So far so good… I’ve had feedback from parents to say they are enjoying sharing the bible passage with their kids and engaging with them in this way and I’ve also had parents come back and ask me ‘how do I do this?’ ‘Can you break it down for me?’
    We’ll see how it goes… we are always a work in progress

    • jonathan · October 4, 2010

      Sarah //

      Thanks for commenting. I think I’m a few steps behind you in the process, and I forsee having the same problem you had with parents just not doing the email at all.

      I love the idea of prepping parents beforehand with the material…you may be on to something there!

  4. Wendy · October 5, 2010

    Jonathan,
    I love the idea of having the parents sign up as opposed to handing our papers on Sundays. I have to admit that we have on occassion managed to lose those papers between church and home. Something online or that I can print out at home seems to be a great solution to that.
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Cathy Heitzenrater · October 22, 2010

    I love that idea! Gonna add that into our efforts – that sign up to help give parents ownership.
    We’ve started “texting” parents too with little discussion starters during the week. Of course we’ve had to ask for permission, so they just text a code to a # which we include on just about everything they see about kids ministry. It’s new and some parents have already signed up – once we get it on our kids guest cards that are filled out on a families first visit i think we’ll see many more sign-ups. Lord willing it will help get some families talking that didn’t before.

    Thanks Jonathan for sharing some great Orange thoughts on your blog! It’s always great!