Parenting is a sacred, heart-wrenching, beautiful, messy calling. Meeting children’s financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs while not neglecting the parents’ own similar needs is a challenge most days, and in this season many parents are juggling so much more! It goes well beyond working and homeschooling at the same time—parents are juggling their own fears and concerns while comforting children who are often dealing with their own disappointments over canceled events and extracurricular activities. This is a small picture of where our parents are right now. Some are scared, depressed, or feeling ill-equipped to parent during this season. At best, even the most organized and positive moms and dads are finding themselves at a point of strain.
That’s why we’ve come up with three easy ways we can pastor overwhelmed parents in this season:
Kids are used to activities but are now stuck at home. Parents are trying to do it all and many have serious concerns about screen time. One way we can come alongside parents right now is by creating resources for them to use with their kids.
- Read a story. — We’ve seen kid’s faces light up when a beloved teacher, staff member, or pastor shows up on video. Investing God’s comfort and truth into the hearts of the children whose lives you touch can be as simple as reading a storybook or poem using Facebook Live. If you save the video, it can be available later to anyone who missed it! Help your leaders connect with families with these ideas!
- Lead a virtual craft or activity. — From drawing to visiting a playground together, the kid-safe YouTube world is filled with ideas for interacting with kids and their parents in an educational way. But all these things could be more meaningful if the person at the other end of cyberspace was someone families know and trust! Consider doing a walkthrough of a space you enjoy (like a garden or back yard), singing a song (solo or with an instrument), or doing a craft or activity with the child who’s watching. Keep it simple and easy to follow along with! Here are 4 questions every kids pastor can ask in this season.
Many parents could use some comfort right now. They may feel like a failure with their kids, be worried about current events, stressed about things at work, or all of the above! So how can we bring comfort? Over and over in Scripture, we see ways God has comforted His children and as pastors, prayer and speaking God’s truth are two of our greatest tools to bring comfort to families during difficult times.
- Pray for and with them. — Send a video message of comfort and prayer to parents. How precious would it be for parents to have someone pray with them, whether through voicemail, video, or social media? We can remind parents Who is walking through this season with them!
- It’s okay to not do it all. — Communicate to parents that it’s okay if they can’t do it all right now! We know that God is strongest in our weakness, filling us with His Spirit, and wrapping us in His comfort. 2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT reminds us that His grace is all we need and His power works best in weakness. “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” Parents can find comfort as they lean on Christ for their strength, and we get to point them back to Christ in those moments they need it.
In this season, it’s easy for parents and kids to feel isolated. Parents have more on their plates than ever before and are facing many added challenges. While they’re navigating all of the things, how can we help parents and their kids feel a little less alone?
- Have a virtual coffee chat. — This is a great way for parents to feel less isolated during this time. In a small-group online setting, children will be excited to see familiar faces, and interact with others, while parents will feel relieved to connect with adults they trust with their kids. Ministry leaders could even use this opportunity to work on memory verses with kids or sing a song together. We even have some resources on the Open Network to help.
- Start virtual small groups. — Families everywhere are starved for opportunities to connect via small groups. Now is a great time to create the infrastructure for virtual small groups. Whether through video calls, Facebook groups, or YouVersion Bible Plans, we’re all learning in this season that connection has never been about physical proximity. We can encourage parents to get creative in how they’re engaging with each other personally. Click here for more ways that you can create community online.
By connecting with parents, offering the comforting Truth of the Word of God, and equipping them with helpful resources, we can make a huge impact on the lives of parents and their families. These small yet impactful ways to pastor families will strengthen the bond we have with parents, even while we’re not physically able to meet. As Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 2:9, when he reflected upon his state of being house-bound — “the Word of God is not bound!”
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