Childcare can do a lot of great things for your kids. When you work with kids you want them to be safe, you want them to have fun, and you want them to make friends. The church is no different in these areas. However, the kids programming at church is not just childcare. What does that mean for how we do church? What are ways we can encourage our parents to treat church differently? Here are a few suggestions on what to tell them:
1. Fill the Gap– What you do to disciple and teach your kids at home does not have to be separate from the church. The volunteers serve because they care for your kids, but ultimately they want to teach your kids about God. Move beyond the “hello” or the “thank you” with your kids. Talk to them, or talk to me, about how we can better partner with you in raising your child. Show your kids that church doesn’t just watch them, but that the volunteers have something more they want your child to know.
2. Talk to your kids about the church– Start, encourage, and promote conversations about church and God in your home. I can remember when my parents would engage me with what I learned at church. It made me take seriously what was being taught. It wasn’t just a story to entertain me, but something my family cared about knowing.
3. Volunteer-Kids see a lot of people serving in church every week. However, most of the time they don’t understand who those people are or why they volunteer. Serving in the church gives you a unique opportunity demonstrate to your kids that you care about what is going on. It also should open up doors to talk about why people volunteer at church, what the difference between staff and volunteers are, etc. As a parent, you should strive to teach your kids that church is something we are a part of and not just something we consume.
4. Interact with the church when there isn’t programming- If the kids have a question about church, why not pursue it with a teacher or a leader outside of Sunday services? This can help reinforce with your kids it’s not just a Sunday thing. It will also help to teach them that in the future they can turn to the church for answers. By bringing the kids to the proverbial table to find the answers, kids will begin to understand that the church is not just for adults.
At my church, our mission for the kid’s area exists to inspire a love for Christ founded in Scripture, in an environment rich with teaching that is both relatable and takeable. We want to see the church be on mission with the parents, which is why we want to avoid thinking through a childcare only mentality. I hope these ideas help as you seek to create an environment that partners with families.