One Day Conference Plan, 2010
Joanne Moran, Writer
Tips for Involving Parents in Sunday School
Written by Gayle Lintz
Preschool Sunday School teachers understand that they are laying a valuable foundation of
faith in young lives. But, truthfully, many preschoolers lose interest in church as they grow
into youth and young adulthood. They begin to fall into the pattern of non-attendance that is
set by the most important people in their lives -- their parents.
So, what can be done to involve parents of preschoolers in church and Sunday School
To adults on the “outside,” the church sometimes seems like a club, with rules and
regulations that nobody else knows or understands. Some parents, before they can think of
attending a church event, must know they will be accepted. Having even one friend at
church (that’s you!) can help relieve the anxiety parents may feel.
Here are a few suggestions for getting the parents of preschoolers more involved in Sunday
School and church.
Establish a Personal Relationship with Parents Through a Home Visit
Frankly, a home visit will amaze most parents. Some will be gracious and invite you
in; others will be suspicious. For a first visit, consider chatting briefly at the front door.
Tell the parents how happy you are their child has visited your Sunday School.
Describe an activity the child enjoyed.
Take a magazine, like Home Life or ParentLife for the parents. Bring the child a book
or game.
Communicate that you are looking forward to seeing the child again. Mention an
activity you will provide on Sunday. Take your cues from the parents. Do they seem
interested in your church? Give them information about Adult Sunday School classes
and the worship service(s). If the parents seem defensive or uninterested, wait until
another time; you don’t want them to think their child is only welcome at church if
they also come. If no one is at home, leave the magazine and write a message,
identifying yourself and your church.
Follow-Up Contacts with Parents
When the child has visited several times, make another effort to let the parents know
how important their child is to you.
Phone parents and chat briefly. Mention again your delight in their child and thank
them for letting him attend.
Send a card. If you take photographs of children in your Sunday School department,
send a photograph through the mail like a postcard. Your message might say, “We
enjoy Jackson so much at church. We thought you might like to see what we do
Follow-Up Contacts with Children
Article “Tips for Involving Parents in Sunday School,” Item 10
One Day Conference Plan, 2010
Joanne Moran, Writer
Make children feel special, which lets their parents know you care about their child.
Most young children do not get many phone calls.
Telephone the child during the week to ask about her day and let her know you are
thinking about her. Most preschoolers do not get much mail, either.
A note on a colorful postcard can be a precious reminder of your affection. Describe
an activity you are planning for Sunday, to help the child anticipate the wonderful
time he will have at church -- and let parents know he is expected.
Work with Adult Sunday School Departments
Enlist parents of other children in your department. Does the child play frequently
with a particular child of Sunday School members? Work with that family to arrange a
play date. Meet at a neutral place. You might ask both parents to bring their children
and meet at the zoo for a picnic (or at a playground or children’s museum, or other
child-friendly space). The first meeting, you might offer to pay entrance fees.
Does the child attend a school or child-care facility with other church children? Make
church parents aware of this family. They could sit with them at parent meetings or
make a point to greet them and chat a moment as they are taking or picking up their
children each day. Help parents who do attend meet other adults.
Take Advantage of Church-Sponsored Family Events
Does your church have a Parents Shopping Night with child care provided so parents
can do holiday shopping? Some churches have events where children can come and
make gifts for family members. Offer to pick up the child and take her to and from
Does your church sponsor a churchwide holiday event? Invite the family and offer to
meet at a particular place in the building. Better yet, bring them with you.
Some parents are more willing to attend low-stress events at church. Consider
planning a springtime picnic at a park near the church. Or, bring the child to VBS and
encourage the parents to attend Family Night. Before an event, try to find adults with
similar interests to the family you are inviting. Arrange for them to meet.
Work with the Teachers of Siblings
Be sincere. People who avoid church usually do so for a reason. They may have had
a negative experience. They will be sensitive to hypocrisy. Avoid “feast-or-famine”
outreach. Coordinate contacts, so parents are not overwhelmed one week and
ignored for three.
Suggest an event for preschoolers and children that includes all siblings in the family.
A family skate night, a spring kite-flying party, a summertime pool party, or a movie
party are possibilities.
Examine Your Motives
Never communicate that you are interested in the family because you want them to
become church members. Let them know you like them and want to be friends with
them, unconditionally.
Pray regularly for the family and for guidance to meet their needs.
Article “Tips for Involving Parents in Sunday School,” Item 10
One Day Conference Plan, 2010
Joanne Moran, Writer
Gayle Lintz is adjunct instructor of child development at McLennon Community College,
Waco, Texas, and a writer of preschool curriculum.
Article “Tips for Involving Parents in Sunday School,” Item 10