When I ask what leaders do to equip parents or to partner with them, most of them say they provide resources. Equipping parents has become synonymous with that; when we say we “equip parents,” what we often really mean is “distribute resources.”

And while there’s nothing wrong with that, if our strategy for partnering with parents stays ONLY in the resources lane, we’ve got an incomplete and ultimately ineffective strategy. The idea of equipping parents only through distributing resources has turned our ministries into vending machines and created a vending machine mindset when it comes to equipping parents.

In a vending machine ministry mindset…

  • The children’s ministry leader operates like a vending machine by simply providing resources without much interaction. 
  • Parents are expected to come to the church or ministry location to access materials or attend events.
  • Resources are available, but parents may struggle with knowing how to use them effectively without guidance. Or may not even really know they’re there. 
  • There’s limited personalization and support tailored to individual families’ needs.

You may have seen beautiful pictures of a parent resource wall in various ministry settings, and I’m not saying those are bad. They’re a great way to resource families and give parents tools to use at home. But if we just put them out there without training and encouraging families, those resource walls aren’t being used to their full potential. (Sneak peek: Next week in our Partnering with Parents series, we’ll hear from one kidmin leader who is using her parent resources shelves effectively with her families! Stay tuned!)

While this vending machine mindset sounds great in theory – easy to access, plentiful options, etc. –  it’s an incomplete picture of our role in discipling families. And this vending machine mindset ultimately leaves out a few valuable elements of family discipleship – you wouldn’t find a very nourishing meal from a vending machine, and this approach leaves much to be desired when it comes to a parent strategy too.

So I propose we switch from a vending machine mentality to a meal kit mentality. Have you ever used one of those meal kits like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron? A box gets delivered to your home with all the instructions and the ingredients you need to make a yummy homecooked meal. This might look like literal family faith kits you send home (we personally love these from Family Faith Builders) but I’m talking more about a mindset in your ministry strategy.

In a meal kit ministry mindset… 

  • The children’s ministry leader adopts a meal delivery kit approach by bringing resources directly to parents where they are, whether it’s at home, online, or in community gatherings.
  • The resources provided fit into what the family is already doing/into their natural daily rhythms and enhance their daily lives rather than adding something to their plate (no pun intended).
  • Just like a meal kit, resources are curated and packaged with simplicity, including clear instructions and guidance on how to use them effectively. 
  • The emphasis is on convenience, making it easy for busy parents to engage with the materials without added stress. 
  • There’s a focus on building relationships and offering ongoing support, similar to the way a meal kit service provides customer support and assistance when needed.
  • This meal kit approach considers the unique needs and preferences of each family, offering flexibility and customization. (This is huge for Millennial parents!)

So how do we switch from just resourcing parents to truly partnering with them in the discipleship of their children? Stop being just a vending machine and adopt a meal kit approach to your ministry. I’m excited to keep exploring this topic with you all month long! 


  1. […] week, we talked about moving beyond a vending machine mentality and into a meal kit mentality when it comes to our strategy for effectively partnering with parents (a month-long conversation […]

  2. […] Is Your Ministry a Vending Machine or a Meal Kit? – Deeper KidMin April 14, 2024 Log in to Reply […]

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