Parents with young kids view church through a unique lens. Admittedly, I did not fully understand this until I had two of my own. Preferences and experiences change when kids enter the picture. Over time, I have noticed consistencies in these preferences and experiences. Here are 9 statements that I have heard numerous times from parents with young kids:
1. “Getting to church stresses us out.”
For young parents, the process of getting their kids ready for church is unpredictable. One week, the kids are in a fight. The next week, one refuses to wear any clothes you put before her. Tantrums are regular occurrence, especially when they need to be somewhere at a specific time. These parents want to get to church on time, but it is a battle. It stresses them out.
2. “We probably had a fight on the way to church.”
The stress of getting to church on time creates tension in the family. Arguments frequently arise. The parents do their best to hide these arguments the moment they arrive on campus, but they’re tough leave behind. The pre-church arguments make it difficult to worship.
3. “You have no idea how important a fun, clean, and safe kids’ area is to us.”
They have a deep concern for their kids. When they get to church, parents with young kids want to see a space that is fun, clean, and safe. They want to know that each volunteer’s background has been checked and that there is no question as to whether or not they should be with children.
4. “Do you want to show us love? Love our kids.”
When they drop our kids off at their class, they want to know that their kids will be treated with the same love and care that their kids receive at home. When these parents’ kids leave church happy, they are happy.
5. “We need help teaching our kids the Bible.“
These parents love it when their kids are excited about something they learned in church. They want their kids to know and love God. They want their kids to know Bible stories and have verses memorized. And they want to be a part of it, but they need help.
6. “We like on-campus small groups either before or after the service.”
For parents with young kids, off-campus small groups can create the same stresses that arise with attending church. On-campus groups allow them to only have to go through the process once a week.
7. “We don’t get out that much so we like to build relationships at church.”
Going out with the kids can be a risky endeavor, and babysitters are expensive. So, until the kids get a little older, they stay home. Church becomes a key place for building relationships. They want a church that provides opportunities to connect with others.
8. “Our finances are messy.”
Parents with young kids are still trying to establish their financial footing. Many are still trying to pay off student debt, and some are reeling from early, poor financial decisions. If the church offers some type of basic financial course, they will try it out.
9. “We need help with our marriage.”
In fact, they probably have discussed divorce at some point. They really do want a good marriage, but they are surrounded by lies. They want truth. They want to hear what God’s plan is for their marriage. For some, this is their last hope.
What about you? If you have or have had young kids, what do you wish your church knew? If you are a church leader, what are you doing for your parents with young kids? Tell us in the comment section below.