Many of our partner churches tell us that half the children who attend club come from unchurched families. What a wonderful outreach opportunity! But getting families plugged in to your Pioneer Clubs ministry can be a challenge. Getting to know your “club” families builds trust and support of your ministry. And when unchurched parents form relationships with people from your church, they’re more likely to hear the gospel and become involved.
One way to meet club parents is to sponsor an activity during club time. Encourage church-member parents to attend, too, to get to know the other parents. Be sure material about your church’s ministries is available, especially the ones that would appeal to adults. Encourage church-member families to invite unchurched club parents to these ministries or other church events.
Another way to reach club parents is to be sure you add them to your church mailing list and Pioneer Clubs email list. The best time to gather contact information is at the beginning of the club year during registration. Send information to them about upcoming club and church events. Invite them to attend special events in club and award ceremonies at the end of each unit.
If you hear of a crisis or major event in a club member’s family, find someone to follow up (the child’s club leader, a church member who has gone through similar circumstances, the pastor, etc.) Have all the kids and leaders in the child’s club make a giant card for the family with drawings and signatures. Pray for the family with club members. Basically, show that you care!
One Pioneer Clubs church makes a point of asking unchurched parents to help in club. At the beginning of the club year, they ask parents what areas they might be able to help out in (i.e. bring snacks; lead an activity award that matches their profession or hobby; chaperone at an outing; take pictures, etc.). Also consider asking club parents for help in your church such as the computer whiz who can help you with your IT issues; or a parent who is good with running audio-visual equipment for the Christmas program or Pioneer Clubs Sunday. Consider asking a parent with drama experience to help lead a skit or drama program for kids. The possibilities are endless.
Finally, one of the easiest ways to reach unchurched parents is to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere every time they drop off or pick up their children. Have leaders and volunteers serve as “greeters” specifically assigned to chat with parents and get to know them.
Your Pioneer Clubs program provides your church an amazing opportunity to share the love of Christ with entire families. We will be praying for you as you determine how to best accomplish that in your context. And we would love to hear from you about what God accomplishes through you in the days ahead.