YOU ARE NOT ALONE: 4 Types of Parent Community Groups
Many parents are sitting in crowded rooms who feel utterly alone as a parent. Unfortunately, that room is often our church auditorium. With the weeks of staying-at-home turning into months, parents are feeling more alone than ever. The quick Zoom calls are not working to connect parents any better than they are working for their kids.
Most churches in America have some type of small group. A majority of these are based on a book or video study or center around sermon discussion. Parents need adult discipleship and Bible study time, as many of the classic in-depth teaching times of the past have faded: Sunday school classes, evening services, prayer meetings, and even electives. What is often missing is targeted parent community groups. Parent community groups exist to join the Bible with the intentional specifically parent-needed community.
As we emerge from our homes following the COVID crisis, it is the perfect time to launch a parent community group ministry. Parents will be eager to connect with other parents after feeling isolated for so long. There are four different groups you can create. No matter how many groups you offer or when you begin, it’s important to help parents receive the message, “You Are Not Alone.” So here are 4 types of parent community groups.
You Are Not Alone: In Your Struggle
Parents feel alone in their struggles. They feel lonely and lost when their kids are struggling. Parents also feel isolated when their marriage is struggling. They don’t realize other families are experiencing the same issues and that other couples are available to help and encourage them. Creating targeted community groups for parents to know the “struggle is real” will not only help your current parents, but will also draw others into your ministry. Struggle builds strong comradery and connection.
You Are Not Alone: In Your Season
There is a season for everything under the sun—and that includes parenting. The problem is there are parents in your ministry that are sunburnt! They have been standing alone in their season, and no one has offered them shade. Community groups created around ages, grades, or transitions of their children’s life will build a safe shelter for parents. Parents on both ends of the school spectrum will be struggling through the changing season as younger kids head into a new school year, and older students finish school and head out of the house. There are other seasons of life where community groups can play a key role in ministering to families, such as the end of elementary school or the transition to high school.
You Are Not Alone: In Your Singleness
The group that so many churches often forget, especially when it comes to parenting connections, is the single parents. While we often offer classes or events for married parents, we often overlook some of the loneliest parents. The church can be a place of embarrassment for single parents, and a community group not only offers them a place to connect but communicates the message that their family belongs in your ministry. Of all the community groups that you create, this one might be the most important. This group can offer critical emotional support, along with essential social support. Single parents can come together to help each other beyond the group times through shared wisdom, resources, and even family gatherings.
You Are Not Alone: In Your Spiritual Journey
Parenting is a journey. Some days it may feel longer than others. Besides Bible study and discussions, parent community groups allow parents to walk together down the road of faith. The group provides a time for parents to intentionally look into God’s word to map out the journey of parenting through the struggles, the different seasons, and even personal and relationship conflicts.
One of the most important things we can do in our parent and family ministry is to let parents know they are not alone in discipling their families through strong parent groups. With these 4 types of parent community groups, we can encourage, engage, equip, and empower parents for their families’ spiritual journey.
Dan Istvanik has been working in youth ministry for 25 years, serving in churches in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Washington DC. He is a speaker, ministry coach, writer, and contributor to other ministry resources. You can contact Dan at www.mymresources.com, where he shares student ministry resources.
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