"If we are to have greater connections with our pre-school families we need to be more intentional about building relationships with them. We have to offer more than just a programme." - Connect: From Here to There | Pastoral Care
On a scale of 1 to 10 - how important are relationships in your pre-school ministry?
Are you happy with status quo with your pre-school ministry?
How is your group different to the community pre-school group that operates down the road?
Divisional Directors of Women's Ministries Majors Denise Daly and Sheryl Jarvis are on a mission. They have teamed up to provide a free, intensive strategic discussion starter for anyone operating a pre-school program through The Salvation Army. Mainly Music, pre-school mothers groups - what is your focus?
How is the health of the groups culture? Can you see a bridge to intentional community being built?
The Connect: From Here To There discussion cards are meant for leaders, helpers and hopefuls of pre-school ministries who want to boldly take stock of where they are at.
CONNECT DISCUSSION CARDS
5 card booklets (each with 4 different thought provoking ideas) make up this brilliant resource. Majors Denise and Sheryl have a passion for intentional and effective pre-school community discipling, and this is evident in the clear focus each of these cards prompts.
These can either be printed double sided to make the 5 card booklets or you can print these out at separate A4 pages for quick discussion and presentation to your group. We recommend scheduling a time with your leaders and volunteers where deep reflection and focus can direct the outcomes to your responses.
To view | download the easily printable set of cards, download the link HERE
To view | download each card to print A4, download the link HERE
CONNECT PASTORAL CARE
Take this pastoral care assessment to help you stir some ideas for where you could be headed in this ministry. You can download all of the following information in a beautiful A4 pdf in the link at the bottom of this article.
Ideas for on how you can pastorally care for Pre-school families
If we are to have greater connections with our Pre-school families we need to be more intentional about building relationships with them - we have to offer more than just a programme. They need to see that we care about them, and that we are deeply interested in them. This means that pastoral care of our pre-school families is of vital importance, it can’t be an afterthought!
They need to see that we care about them, and that we are deeply interested in them. This means that pastoral care of our pre-school families is of vital importance, it can’t be an after- thought! Offering pastoral care to large pre-school groups can easily feel overwhelming. Below are some suggestions around how you can do this:
Consider capping your pre-school roll
The intention here is to help build deeper intentional relationships. Bigger is not always better! Having a smaller roll where the expectation is for parents/caregivers to communicate potential absences encourages consistent attendance and helps to create a dialogue with the family. We heard when a death occurred, or a miscarriage had taken place or an illness with the child or caregiver, which meant we were able to respond pastorally. This is information we would not otherwise have known. If they had missed two or three weeks and we hadn’t heard from them, we followed up with them which created an opportunity to reach out.
Assign each leader/helper on your team a number of women/parents/ caregivers to build a relationship with
Be intentional about being intentional! Rather than every leader/helper feeling like they have to talk to everybody, it is more strategic and manageable to deliberately focus on a smaller group (ideally no more than 10 people).
We did this by colour-coding the name tags and assigning a leader/helper to each colour. This meant the leader/helper knew who they were pastorally responsible for and who they would intentionally spend time talking to in order to build a greater connection. This also helped when we were inviting preschool families to other activities, as the leader/helper personally invited their group of parents/caregivers. We found when our families received a personal invitation from one of the leaders/helpers they were more likely to come. Leaders/helpers were also encouraged to meet with their families during the week for coffee or at the park etc.
Have meals/cards ready so that you can respond when a family is going through a difficult time
If meals are already in the freezer it means that when you hear that families are struggling you can respond immediately. We asked some of our corps members to help fill the freezer - this is a great way of interfacing with the family in their home. Our experience has been that families are more open to the gospel message when they have a major event happen in their lives ie: the loss of a loved one, a new baby, health concerns, change of employment. These are times when you can give extra support and offer spiritual guidance - like comfort at a funeral, offer to dedicate baby, meals when unwell etc.
“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” - Theodore Roosevelt
To view | download the PDF with all of the above information on it can be found HERE