Written by Sean Lord, JH Pastor at Christ’s Church Of The Valley, CA
The 7 Minute Meeting
A meeting about the 7 things every 7th grader needs to know.
Spring is the season of transitions for Family Ministry and one of the most crucial transitions to master is the one from Kid’s Ministry to Student Ministry. I believe that in this important time, we have to communicate the best we can. What better way than to set up a meeting where parents can get all the information they need and ask important questions they may have. But, let’s be honest: We’ve all been invited to a meeting that went WAY too long. If you are like me, you absolutely dread meetings that don’t have a concise message or maybe even lack an end time.
When thinking about how to best communicate with parents about the next stage for their students, one thought popped in my head: 7 is greater than infinity. Nobody wants to come to a meeting that seems to go on forever. To get the most parents possible, I knew that I needed to keep it quick and short. So I came up with The 7 Minute Meeting: 7 things your incoming 7th grader needs to know. My goal? To concisely communicate the most important things parents need to know about this transition for their students in less than 7 minutes.
But as I started to think about the things I wanted to say, I began to realize an obstacle…you are going to want to talk longer than 7 minutes. You’re a pastor. That’s what you do. But, the key to this meeting’s success is sticking to the time limit you placed on it, to respect the parents time. You might be thinking to yourself, “That’s not enough time, they need to know more!” I thought the same thing. But you ready for this? I stuck to the 7-minute mark (8 at most), and do you know how many parents asked me questions after? 1. Only 1 parent needed to know more information. And let’s just say, she was a little…unique. 7 minutes was enough.
Stick to the 7 minutes and stick to the 7 points.
Here are the 7 things that I talked about:
- Who are you?
These parents have no idea who you are (most likely). Their child has been in kid’s ministry for their entire life and transitioning into Student Ministry means leaving all the pastors/leaders they know. Spend some time talking about your time in Student Ministry and why you feel called to be in it.
- Summer Camp
In our Student Ministry, we unapologetically push Summer Camp and tell parents it’s the best thing they could do to get them plugged into our ministry. There’s no better way for them to grow close to leaders and students. More importantly, they will have an encounter with God that will create momentum for the rest of the year.
- Wednesday Nights
Wednesday nights are when our program happen. It looks a lot different than our Kid’s Ministry. Tell them the differences and quickly share why it looks the way it does. Use this an opportunity to get their kid excited.
- Sunday Mornings
If you have the same context as us, this is where you will spend most of your time. We have 0 programming on Sunday mornings. This can be a drastic change for their usual family routine. I explain that instead of an age-specific program, we push students to attend with their families and serve in Kid’s Ministry. The important thing here is to cast the vision for why you don’t have programming because I almost guarantee they don’t know it. Many parents believe it’s because we don’t have room, or are too lazy to do it.
- Community Groups
Life is better in a community. This isn’t just for students, adults also need community. We purposefully use the same language as the adult groups in our church to communicate that. When I tell them why their student should be in a Community Group, I’m honestly just using the same reasons why THEY should be in a group as well. Don’t be afraid to walk that line :).
- One Night
Get the parents and students excited about the things you do. For us, we do things called One Nights, which are a big outreach night. Our church uses the language of “One Life”, as in we all have one person in our lives far from God that we are pursuing.
- Where to get information
This is why you only need 7 minutes. You end the meeting quickly with the primary way Parents can get more information. For us, it’s signing up for our Parent Newsletter and following us on Instagram. That’s it.
I hope this inspires you to take the challenge in making your communication concise.