Really interesting thoughts here.
So how can we be the kind of congregation that welcomes Young Families for more than their energy and wallets? We can:
- Be real. Deal with real issues in sermons, classes, retreats, conversations, prayers.
- Listen to parents’ concerns. Listen to children’s concerns.
- Ask how we can pray for them. And then pray for them.
- Allow/encourage messiness. Noses will run and squirming will ensue. There might be running. There will definitely be noise.
- Check our personal Stink Eye Quotient. Do we grimace when a baby cries? Do we frown when the kids are wearing soccer uniforms?
- Refrain from expecting everyone to be the church like we have always been the church.
- Help parents, grandparents, and all adults become equipped to minister to children and youth. How can we learn to offer such loving hospitality to the younger people in our midst that they will always experience church as home?
- Do not use children as cute props. Yes they say the darndest things during children’s stories, but they are not there to entertain us.
- Give parents a break. Really. Help struggling parents get coats and hats on their kids. Hold an umbrella. Assist in wiping spills.
- Give parents a break administratively. Make it easy to participate. Minimize the unnecessary.
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