Hopefully, if you have a first time visitor to your Bible class, you’ve done several things to help the child feel welcomed, valued and a vital part of the class. It may not matter how much the student wants to return though, if the parents are uncomfortable with the idea.
Unfortunately, many Bible class teachers fail to make a meaningful connection with visiting students’ parents. In fact, adults can often manage to spend an entire worship and class time with little or no meaningful interactions with church members. Picking up their kids from Bible class is often the last impression any visitor has of your church family.
So what can you do at those hectic drop off and pick up times to connect to parents? How can you make that connection meaningful enough that they will want to return? There are a lot of possibilities, but here are some of our favorite tips.
- Introduce yourself and learn as much as you can about them. You don’t need to grill them, but knowing their names and whether or not they live in the area can help you find them later.
- Try to find things you have in common. Did you grow up in the same state? Do you have friends in common? Do your kids go to the same school as their children? Those little things you find in common will make you a bit closer emotionally and leave them with a positive feeling.
- Ask if you can help them with anything. Sometimes the most stressful part of visiting is not knowing where to find things. Or what the normal routine is. Offering to help them navigate the stressful parts of their visit will make them feel more comfortable.
- Introduce them to another parent. Encourage the member parent to take them to their adult Bible class and introduce them to others. The more positive connections someone makes in a new environment the more positive they will feel about returning.
- Get contact information. Many visitors slip in and out without the church having any contact information for follow ups. Explain to them what you will and won’t do with their contact information – you will send their child a note and share with the church office, but you won’t sell or share their information with businesses. Make sure you do what you say though – promising something and then not delivering it leaves a bad impression.
- Assign their child a special friend to help them that day – preferably while parents are still there. Knowing their child is safe and loved is important. You may even want to hand them a written copy of your church’s safety policy.
- Give them information on what happened during class. It really helps parents to know the Bible story that was taught, the main application point of the lesson and the activity you did in class. Sometimes even teens can get that information confused. Making sure parents have accurate information can prevent misunderstandings.
- Let them know how much you enjoyed having their child in class and invite them to return. People want to feel they are accepted somewhere new. Knowing their child is loved and you want the entire family to return can let them know your church wants them as part of your family.
- Follow up with a note, email or call. Let them know you are thinking about them. Let them know about something you will be doing in class you think their kids will enjoy. Invite them to return for worship service and any upcoming events.
Taking those few extra minutes to make meaningful connections with the parents of your visiting students can make it much more likely the family will return. It really is worth your time and effort.