Reaching and keeping young families in your local church needs to be more than just wishful thinking. Many, if not all, churches realize the need to have parents with kids coming to their church. because of this, most pastors and church workers actively invite young couples to church and Sunday School. Occasionally they visit, but in many cases they never come back. Here are three things that we are doing to reach and keep young folks at the Sinclair Baptist Church in rural Wyoming. With a little work you can do them too.
- Young Greeters-The first impression is often the one that sticks in the head the longest. Take advantage of this and have your youngest couples possible standing at the door to greet each guest as they enter. Utilize the few children that you may have and have them be outside greeters and meet all the church attenders out on the sidewalks. We had a lady sew up some special vests for the kids to make the first impression, not only youthful, but sharp.
- Young Testimonies-Great things happen when you add testimonies from young people to the main church service time. Young families who are visiting can really relate to others going through the same stage of life. Here are three kinds of testimony you can use:
- Themed: Have a young dad or mom give a testimony that aligns with the theme of the sermon.
- Salvation: Have a young married person give a chronological testimony including the high points of their life and ending with their salvation and/or baptism.
- Random: Have a testimony from a parent or even a young couple as to how God is currently working in their life.
- Young Communications-The families with young kids have vastly different expectations in regards to information. They undoubtedly scoped out your website before they came to visit. They would expect an email followup letter more than the snail mail version. Pictures and posting on Facebook would be another expectation. Following up the sermon with internet links to videos, pdfs and helpful websites would be appreciated. Work hard to include a followup item each Sunday.
These are just a few items that are easily implementable with a little forethought. They may be new and somewhat uncomfortable to get going at first, but the pain will pay off in the end. For those of us raised in a generation that is past, we have needed to swallow hard and learn the new skills and devote our time in new ways. But I can say with all honesty and experience, that the pain is worth it and there is nothing more exciting than a Sunday morning service filled with the flourishing moms and dads of elementary aged kids.
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