As you begin inviting your community to church, it’s important to ensure you have a great children’s ministry or child-friendly amenities. Chances are, you will often be reaching families who have children in the home. Making parents and kids feel comfortable in your church is a huge step toward turning visitors into returning guests and eventually into regular attenders.
If you no longer have small children at home, try to remember what it’s like to get everyone up, dressed, in the car and to church on time Sunday mornings. Now think about what it’s like if you are visiting a new church—where do you take your kids? Do the kids stay with you during service, leave mid-way through or start in the children’s area? Is the children’s are clean, safe, fun? What if there is an “incident” while you are in the service?
Think like a visiting parent. Taking pro-active steps to answer their questions and unspoken concerns up front is a huge step in the right direction when starting or improving upon your children’s ministry.
Easy Ways You Can Make Your Church Child-friendly
- Have extra greeters who can walk parents and kids to the children’s area and explain the check in procedure and answer questions.
- If your church welcomes children into the service but has a special kids program part way through, make sure visitors understand how this works. To make everyone comfortable, it can be a good idea to dismiss kids during a song and offer parents a chance to go with them to see the children’s area.
- If your church doesn’t have kids programming, offering activity bags with crayons and coloring books. This will help younger kids stay occupied during the service.
- Let parents with babies know about your cry room options if they choose to take their baby into service. Ensure that your cry room is welcoming and comfortable. Don’t make parents feel like they have been banished from the service.
- Explain to parents how they will be notified if there is a problem with their children during the service. And try to set up a system that isn’t embarrassing for guests – use discrete numbers instead of full names etc…
- Find a good balance between offering a secure area for children and creating too much time-consuming red tape. Do as much as necessary to make your children’s ministry secure and safe, then leave it at that.
- Make sure your children’s ministry is set-up to accommodate special requests. If you offer snacks, ask parents about dietary restrictions or allergies and then adhere to the requests.
- Finally, when parents come to pick up their kids, thank them for coming. Tell them how much you would love to see their kids come back next week. If you can offer the kids and parents a free gift for visiting that is an extra bonus.
Creating a children’s ministry makes parents visiting your church feel welcome. It also removes the barriers than can discourage families from attending church, such as finding childcare. Following these steps, you can offer a family-friendly place for everyone in your community to worship.