The families of your church are in a unique missional position. While they are super busy raising kids, they also have access to a population many church staff members or career missionaries may not be able to easily access: other families.
Think about it: When a mom takes her son to music lessons, she has an opportunity to speak to other parents doing the exact same thing. When a dad takes his daughter to softball practice, other parents are there watching the exact same practice. Or when a grandparent takes a grandchild to dance practice, other families are there doing the exact same thing — and they are likely all just sitting there, waiting around for practice to end.
Reminding families of the vast number of other families they come into contact with each day can be a great way to jump-start conversations about being on mission in your own community.
Consider these ideas as you encourage families in your church to take on this unique gospel-sharing opportunity.
4 Ways to Involve Families in Church-Sponsored Activities
Special Church Events
Special events are a natural opening to invite someone who hasn’t been to your church before. As a church, help create family-friendly events that make it easy for your members to invite their acquaintances. Encourage families to reach out to others in their social groups.
When a family does invite another family who doesn’t attend church to a holiday event or special activity, here are some ways they can follow through:
- Explain the event to them and help them know what they can expect. Consider the guest families past experiences with churches. What can you do or say to help put them at ease if they have concerns or are nervous?
- Meet them as they come onto your church campus and walk in with them. Acquaint them with the building (restrooms, nursing rooms for mothers, etc.).
- Make a point to introduce them to other people while they are taking part in the event. Help them feel welcome!
- Follow up after the event. Answer their questions. Be sure to think of the next appropriate event, service, or activity to which you can invite them.
Small Group Bible Studies
If your church hosts weeknight small group Bible studies, consider adding topics on marriage and parenting that would be of interest to families in your community. Make sure you provide childcare for the parents who do sign up to attend. (Consider using Mission Friends curriculum for preschoolers or Missions Journey: Kids curriculum for elementary-age children.) As a church, plan meals (or heavy snacks) for these times to help super busy families with afternoon schedules. Create invitations or flyers for church members to give to other families to invite them.
Host a block party, ice pop giveaway, or playtime at the park. Ask families in your church to help plan the event and to staff the event. Encourage them to invite families they know to the event and get to know others as they come to hang out and enjoy the day.
When Just the Kids Come to Church
Almost every church has kids who are dropped off for services. Families from your church can reach out to other families in the community and invite them to attend special events with their children and serve as a host for the visiting family. Connect families with similar interests or who have children of the same age, and encourage host families to remain in contact with the visiting family through phone calls and text invitations to other events.
4 Ways Families Can Reach Others in Everyday Life
Families can reach out to other families on their own. Share these ideas with the families of your church.
Invite another family over to prep a few meals for the following week. Divide the grocery list for the meals and work together to create freezer meals that can be easily prepared during a busy week.
Playdates are not just for little kids! Invite another family to play miniature golf, ride go-karts, or play kickball. Include a picnic meal and brainstorm ways to get other families involved in the fun. Share about an upcoming event at church and invite them to attend.
Find ways to be transparent on your social media about your need for Jesus. Include prayer requests and actively ask others how you can pray for them. Post events at your church on your social media, but also post pictures of the event (if allowed) and discuss how the event impacted your family.
Look around the next time you are waiting on your child to finish practice or wrap up a game. Which parents do you consistently see each week? Strike up a conversation with them and include something about a devotion you’ve read or something that applied to your life from a Scripture study. The conversation shouldn’t be forced. Just look for natural openings to share something about your faith.
Family life is hectic, for sure, but full of opportunities to share Christ with other families as we walk the same paths. Take a few moments and look around and see who you can encourage this week. They will be eternally grateful that you did.
Heather Keller and her husband, Tommy, are raising two boys. She often shares her need for Jesus through social media by comparing life to the state of the peanut butter jar in her kitchen cabinet.