One major key to a growing church is reaching young families. This is a lot easier said than done. However, there are some steps that church leadership can make in this area to engaging families with young children. Most moms and dads with younger children are looking for a place for their kids to learn about God and connect with other families who are at a similar stage of life.
Children need to be exposed to church and the teachings of God at a young age. This foundation sets the stage for major strides in spiritual development as they begin to understand who God is and their need for Him. So what steps can the church make to reach these goals? Here are a few ideas to consider when trying to engage pre-school children and invest in these young families:
- The preschool ministry must plan events on a regular basis. Time spent together is very important to establishing a viable ministry and building a strong base. These events are often whole family events, which is great.
- One of the best ministries associated with preschoolers is a “Mothers morning out” ministry. This is a time where church workers or volunteers take care of the children while moms get out and do some things for them. This is usually held for a couple of hours in the morning one or two days a week and is major blessing to the stressed-out mom who needs some time for herself.
- Kids Night Out is another awesome idea to push bedtimes back and entertain kids for the evening. Lots of possibilities here including, renting an indoor sports center, gym, or using any large space for kids to expend some energy.
- Group play dates sponsored by the church are another excellent way to connect families together. These can be loosely planned and held at a playground, a community pool, or even at the church.
These are all great ideas, but the church leadership needs to be prepared for new families. There must be a plan to engage them and build connections to others and the overall church ministry. Practical steps should be made to get their contact information and communicate with them quickly after an event. Lastly, remember the overall purpose of a preschool ministry is to love on these children and point them to Christ. The results of this may not be seen until a child moves into the next phase of ministry in the elementary years, but the seed will have been planted. Try to end each event with some food for thought for the children that parents can utilize and discuss at home after the event is over. As churches learn to partner with the young parent bonds are tightened, relationships are strengthened and God is honored.