Reaching Parents: Linking with the Unchurched

Reaching Parents

“It’s a soaking not a sprinkling,” remarked a preschool and children’s ministry friend. We were sharing some ministry ideas and began speaking about reaching out to the unchurched families of preschoolers in our ministry. This comment stuck in my head for days.

Progressive Involvement

When trying to reach out to the parents of our preschoolers who are not believers, not part of church, it’s a long, slow, progressive rain of involvement in their lives that can best draw them into our churches.

Lists of ideas by evangelists and church leaders on the best ways to reach the unchurched abound. For us as preschool leaders, we can incorporate these ideas into our ministry to all of our families but especially the parents who are not believers.

Looking for Open Doors

We have the unusual privilege of working with parents who have allowed us to be in their preschooler’s life. We have an open door that we need to walk through. Sometimes Amy or Josh are brought to your Mission Friends class by neighbors, grandparents, family friends, but we still have an opportunity to reach into the lives of their parents.

6 Ways to Connect with Parents

Here are some ways we can be intentional in connecting with the parents as much as we connect with their preschooler:

  • Pray for the families of all your preschoolers, but especially remember the parents who are not believers!
  • Make sure to get the parents’ information from the adult bringing the preschooler. As much as this is needed for safety and security purposes, knowing this information gives us an inroad into the family.
  • Contact all the parents regularly. Cards, email, phone calls, updates that you may send to families should be sent to the unchurched parent as well as the friends bringing Sara to Mission Friends.
  • Go to the parents! Try to visit activities that your preschoolers participate in outside of Mission Friends (outside of the church!). Visiting with a parent at a pee-wee league soccer game gives you the opportunity to speak with them and let them get to know you. Gunner’s parents will likely be more open to things you invite them to if they have met you.
  • Encourage your church to be involved in events in your community. Involvement in the local Family Fun Day parade on Labor Day, gives you a chance to meet the parents outside. Send invitations your preschooler families, asking them to stop by the face-painting booth at the Farmer’s Market this Saturday. Offer Mother’s Day Out or Parent’s Night Out events to the community—which should include your preschoolers’ parents.
  • Pray! Did we say this already? Yes. We can't say it enough. Prayer is that crucial to all we do in Mission Friends

Teach and love your preschoolers! Never underestimate the difference that is made in the life of a parent when you make a difference in the life of their child! It’s not just a once-a-year invite to the end-of-year party. 

Remember that it’s a consistent, continuous contact that can truly make a difference. It’s a soaking, not a sprinkling.


by Julie Heath, former preschool editor, National WMU


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