Post 2 in a 3-part series by Reagan Lynn
Improving Paging and Communication with Parents
In children’s ministry, incorporating a secure child check in system is crucial to providing parents peace of mind. Part of this system involves occasionally notifying parents of emergencies during a worship service.
There are times, however, when there isn’t an emergency. Instead, a “PNN”, or parental notification notice must be delivered promptly.
Picture this scene: The last chorus concludes and the pastor begins delivering the message. The first sermon slide displays on the large projector screen. Suddenly, a large number overtakes the entire screen. That’s right, a parent is about to join the “special” class of parents whose children interrupted the service. The security number displayed on the projector above the pastor delivers a clear message: It’s time to check on your child.
This system of notifying parents is not a defunct method. However, embracing other options for notifying parents during critical times can prevent embarrassment for parents and reduce the number of interruptions during services and classes.
Consider an alternative method for notifying parents to pick up their children: SMS text messaging.
First, let’s dive deeper into the earlier “number on the screen” example. If a child causes an emergency or situation warranting parental notification, the children’s ministry volunteer often notifies the Sound / AV Team by sending the child’s security number directly to them to display on the screen.
Instead, consider using SMS text messaging to contact parents directly. Empowering children’s ministry personnel to contact parents directly removes the extra step of contacting the sound team first. The faster a message is sent to the parent, the better. The benefit: Faster notifications provide more peace of mind to parents.
Provide added peace of mind for parents and for children’s ministry volunteers
Using the SMS texting method can eliminate some (but certainly not all) interruptions during the service. Instead of a number being displayed on the screen and interrupting the flow of the message, a parent can be notified directly.
While pastors may cringe at the sight of congregants staring at smart phones and tablets, the use of tablets and smart phones for reading The Bible is increasingly popular. This increases the chance that a parent will see an SMS text message when they receive it during a sermon.
Some churches may opt to employ texting and the projector number method. The question is, what is the best fit for you? The more options you have to connect with parents quickly, the better your chances of finding the best processes for your context.
You may ask, “If SMS text messaging is supposed to be a useful tool for notifying parents, how can children’s ministry workers quickly obtain a parent’s cell number?” In other words, what makes this method faster than others?
The answer: Utilize a child check in system that empowers you to contact parents almost instantly. If a volunteer sees the need to contact a parent, they simply read the child’s name (which is printed on the child’s security / name badge) and type the child’s name into an app on their iPhone or at a child check in station.
On the screen appears the name of the parent who checked the child in to their class. An SMS option is provided to the volunteer to promptly SMS text message the parent.
Ideas to streamline ministry are fantastic, but are often unrealized in the absence of capable systems to carry them out. So determine to be different and proactive. Explore a system that offers practical, proven ways to do ministry more effectively. In the process, you can provide greater peace of mind to parents and empower your volunteers to fulfill their purpose with greater impact.
And when all is said and done, hopefully your number won’t be displayed on the screen next week!
Upcoming in the series:
- Which security methods fit your church best?
- We’ll cover: Utilizing different options, including iPad check in, wireless check in, security cards, and iPhone self check-in for parents
Reagan Lynn has a passion for helping churches increase ministry effectiveness, specifically through improving visitor follow up and enhancing member engagement. This drives his career, as he partners with churches to implement systems to accomplish exactly those goals. He resides in Tallahassee, FL and enjoys meaningful conversations, competitive tennis and people-watching at Whole Foods.