How Children’s Ministries Can Use Technology To Reach Parents
“Technology isn’t just for student ministry.” When many people begin talking about technology, one typically turns their mind’s eye to Student Ministry and teenagers. This is a fair thought because the statistics support this. However, to be great children’s ministry leaders, we need to know how to use technology to reach the parents our kids represent. So how can leading Children’s Ministries use technology to reach the parents of the kids they minister to?
DON’T IGNORE IT
One big mistake that a Children’s Ministry can make is to ignore technology completely. If you miss this, you may miss some great and easy ways to connect to your families. For example, if you are new to using technology and ministry, assign one person on your team or staff to ‘own’ this area. If you don’t have additional staff, find a key volunteer who knows your ministry and knows your church identity to take on this task. Help them understand this importance, and then set them free to knock it out! Please don’t ignore it because you can use it well.
To get started on making technology another avenue to connect to your families, check out these few tips below.
Most parents are using technology and receiving their “updates” in three different places. The first is Facebook. Facebook is often deemed by the younger generation to be the “adult social media” platform. This may not be 100% accurate, but for most parents of kids, they are on Facebook. Facebook is very different than Instagram or Twitter as it is full of individuals, groups, businesses, your church ministry page, and hopefully yours! Facebook has a great benefit for organizations to have a visual presence and interaction with its people. Think of using Facebook in these ways.
1. Post to Promote
Promoting the next event or even the next Bible Study is important to keep in front of your people. For most ministries, parents don’t always read emails all the way through, so make your content visible in multiple places. Sharing your event graphic or details about an upcoming meeting may be a helpful reminder for your parents. Posting events on Facebook also allow your parents to share information to their friends or to parents that missed the website link or info from your ministry itself.
2. Post to Engage
Posting events is great, but if you only post events, you miss the great opportunity that social media gives…the social. Posts should not only be about an upcoming event but should generate conversation and community between the ministry and your people and between your people. Posting a question to generate discussion or posting a poll that will help your people engage with your ministry is a ‘next level’ step in social ministry!
3. Post to Celebrate
Your ministry is doing incredible things. You are seeing God do amazing life-changing ministry and moments! Share it! Show and share with your families what God is doing in and through your ministry/church. This allows people to get excited about the ministry they are a part of, the church they attend, and perhaps want to volunteer and serve in!
TEXTING & MESSAGING
If you have a messaging or texting service apart of your ministry, you have a direct path to your people. Unlike an email or website, it’s hard for people to ignore or pass over a text message fully. Sure, they could delete immediately, but most likely, they will not (unless they do – more on this below). Services like FlockNote or Remind are great additions to your ministry to reach and connect with your families! Here are some tips on how to do this well.
1. Short and sweet are key to a great text message. Most parents are sending and/or receiving around 90-100 texts a day, according to a 2018 survey. Since the majority of your parents are getting lots of messages each day, it’s wise to keep your message something they can read and absorb. If you send something too long after the first few sentences, make the message quick and if you need, add a URL to send them to the rest on your website.
2. Schedule and timing are just as important as the message. Make sure you send a message at an opportune time for it to be read and received. All parents are different, but there are some times and places for best-sent messages. Lunchtime, 3:00 pm, and 8:00 pm are all great times to send a message because it’s “downtime” for most and is often best received. The other thing you need to remember is that it’s not good to send one every day. Make a schedule of posts so that you know your frequency and that you don’t over message your people.
3. Change the content. If you are a ministry that only sends a text message for one thing, then it makes it easier for people to delete instantly. Changing up the type of content you send will help your people stop and read each one. Encouragement, challenge, inspiration, and event information are all great types of content. Switch it up, and you’ll get better connectivity!
Technology can seem intimidating at times, but with the right approach and plan, you can reach your families in a key area of our culture. Families are busy, and as crazy as technology can be at times, it can also be a blessing and a quick way to connect with them for the ministry and Gospel!
Tony Bianco has been in Student Ministry for over ten years with his wife Diamend with whom they have two amazing kids. He is a former Radio DJ, Technology Reviewer, GameStop Manager, Apple Store Expert, and the author of The Family Technology Plan. You can contact Tony at www.familytechnologyplan.com.
For more on technology, check out:
Connect with your parents in less than five minutes!
Download & send these digital resources to your parents.
A PRAYER GUIDE FOR YOUR FAMILIES & 2 PARENT VIDEOS.