“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations,” – Matt. 28:19a, NASB
When we think of Mission Friends and making disciples, our focus is often on engaging with families and encouraging them to bring their preschoolers to our weekly sessions. At Mission Friends, we strive to teach preschoolers about missionaries who go and tell others about Jesus. We teach about missionaries so preschoolers can learn how to be a follower of Christ: by learning, praying, giving, and going.
As Mission Friends leaders, we pour our love, energy, and efforts into leading preschoolers in order to support missionaries and raise up future believers and missionaries. To do this, we must first begin by reaching one—one family, one child. We want to reach the family with Jesus, but first, we must connect through relationships.
Read on to find ways to connect with and invite a family to bring their child to Mission Friends. Begin with one more and pray the Lord will bless your efforts and add multiples of one more. But first, reach one.
Pray. Pray that the Lord will show you the first one (preschooler or family) you are to reach out to and connect with.
Observe. Look for a new family who attends your church. Introduce yourself. Sincerely offer to help connect the family with missions leaders and age level groups but avoid being pushy.
Prepare. Put together a welcome bag to offer to the family you hope to reach. Include fun items as well as something that shows what their child will learn in Mission Friends. Extend the bag with an invitation to visit and see what happens at Mission Friends.
Build relationships. Families want to know you are interested in more than just enrolling their child in class. Invite the family to lunch after church (be sure to pick up the tab) or meet at a park to visit as children play. Share time together in social settings to get to know each other.
Connect. Offer your cell number, email address, or social media handles. Invite the family to contact you for more information. Send a welcoming text or email.
Find New Families. Work alongside leaders and teachers of other church programs to find a family who does not attend missions groups. Visit the family. Offer a tour of the Mission Friends room and share what happens each week.
Be early. Arrive before church services. Seek out and greet new families or faces. Offer assistance in finding classrooms, restrooms, or other needs. Sit near the family so you can connect again after church.
Volunteer. Help at missions or community outreach events. Get acquainted with new families. Allow the Lord to show you the one you need to reach out to first with friendship and invitations to bring their child to Mission Friends. Visit and connect with the entire family.
Share. Copy the monthly “Mission Friends at Home.” Give a copy to a new family with preschoolers. Explain how Mission Friends works.
Follow up. Call, visit, or send a card to the family. Ask about hobbies, work, school, and family events. Let the family know you care about each family member, not just the preschooler.
Host a Family and Friends Night. Invite parents of current Mission Friends to attend but also ask families to bring friends. Extend an invitation to your one family. Provide name tags and plan fun, engaging activities that allow parents to participate alongside their preschoolers. Set aside time to briefly speak with parents and share the goals of Mission Friends.
Go. Reach one.