Linking with Parents

Our Mission Friends group had only one or two preschoolers who attended. We knew we had more preschoolers in our church, but could only get those one or two to come sporadically. Then all of a sudden, there were eight to ten preschoolers who came to Mission Friends on a regular basis!



What made the difference? We now offer Mission Friends at a time when parents are involved in their own ways at church. Previously there was nothing offered for the parents at the time we had Mission Friends. Now there is a variety of options for adults at that time: discipleship studies, parenting classes, Christian book studies, English as a Second Language classes, and choir practice.

Parents today want to make the most of their family’s time. They will be more likely to bring their preschoolers to Mission Friends if there are options offered at the same time to enrich their own faith. Vivian Howell, a Mission Friends leader in Missouri, said it well, “Kids don’t have keys to the car to get themselves there.” This means that churches need to offer things that draw families to church during the time the missions groups meet.


To Do

There are several things you can do to connect parents with your church during Mission Friends.

  • Work with other leaders in your church to suggest options to offer for parents.
  • Be open to changing the time you offer Mission Friends. In my church, we changed the time from Sunday evenings to Wednesday evenings when options for adults would be available.
  • Help to start a Mission Friends group during the week when parents are involved at church, such as during a ladies’ Bible study on a weekday morning or evening.
  • Offer Mission Friends when a myMISSION group gathers for a missions activity. Young mothers who are involved in myMISSION will be glad their preschoolers are growing a missions heart, too.

Connect with parents of preschoolers by seeking to meet their needs. They might not be likely to drop their preschooler off at church if there is nothing available for parents. They are more likely to bring their preschooler to Mission Friends if there are options to help themselves grow as Christ followers. Take a look at what your church offers for parents to strengthen their faith, even as you offer Mission Friends to help preschoolers grow toward God.

By Joye Smith, national WMU Preschool Consultant


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