Monday, April 29, 2019

How are You Helping Grandparents Who Bring Grandchildren to Church?

Typically when you think about the adults who bring children to your church, you think of and picture the parents. And, for most of the children it is the parents who bring them to church. But not all. In most churches 10% to 25% of the people bringing the children to church are the grandparents. 

It is not the same for grandparents who bring their grandchildren to church as it is for parents - parents are able to tell their children they are going to church as a family; grandparents are not able to make their grandchildren go to church, because typically if the parents are allowing the grandparents to bring the children to church it is only IF the children want to go. Parents often have friends at church who are also parents with children the same ages. This means when parents bring the children to church, the children often already are friends with other children in their class; not necessarily the case when grandparents bring the children to church. This may leave the grandchildren feeling lonely and like they do not belong. Parents attend parenting classes at church; most churches do not offer any classes for grandparents on what it looks like to hand down the faith.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Free on Kindle - Pray the Scriptures

Today, April 26, 2019 is the day my book - Deeper In 4 Grandparents & Parents, Too! Praying the Scriptures for the Children You Love - Psalms Edition becomes available for free as a Kindle copy. Yes, from April 26-30, 2019 it will be free on Kindle.

This book provides you with 52 weeks of Scripture prayers from the Book of Psalms which have been personalized for you to pray for yourself and for the ones you love.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

What Message are You Sending?

When it comes to your Children's Ministry, do you believe your Sunday school is an important part of what you do? Would you firmly say it is worth the time of the children and families for children to be there on Sundays? If so, what message are you sending if you stop offering Sunday school in the Summer? If it is something you are able to cancel for the Summer - or some part of the Summer, and it is acceptable for children to not participate in Sunday school during those times, why is not not acceptable for them to just write it off and stay in bed the rest of the year?

Giveaway for You to Use with the Grandparents Who Bring Grandchildren to Your Ministry

Almost four years ago a group of people met to talk about if there was a need for a ministry which equipped and encouraged grandparents to hand down the faith to their grandchildren and which called upon churches to serve the grandparents in their church by developing a Grandparenting Ministry. This group became known as the Legacy Coalition and four of our Grandmas with Heart were there - Sherry Schumann, Linda Ranson Jacobs, Cathy Jacobs and me, Lynda Freeman. 

The following May we were invited to speak at a grandparenting conference in Minnesota - the general sessions were filmed and turned into a resource any church is able to use to equip the grandparents in their ministry. This DVD resource - Grandparenting DVD: Strengthening Your Family and Passing on Your Faith is a two DVD set with ten sessions and a workbook; the speakers are Larry Fowler, Josh Mulvihill, Cavin Harper, Valerie Bell, Rob Rienow, Linda Ranson - Jacobs (one of our Grandmas with Heart), Cathy Jacobs (another of our Grandmas with Heart) and me, Lynda Freeman. I'm very happy to say the Legacy Coalition sent one set for me to review and a second one for me to give away.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

What Grandparents Need From You

If you serve in Children's Ministry, you likely think of the parents when you think about the adults who bring the children in your ministry. There is solid reason for you to do so, as most of the people who bring children to your church are likely parents. Most, but not all. Your church most certainly has grandparents who bring their grandchildren to your Children's Ministry and there are some significant things you need to keep in mind when it comes to these grandparents . . .

Monday, April 15, 2019

Do You "Roll Up the Sidewalks" or "Kick into High Gear"?

As your school-year Children's Ministry begins to wind down, what is your plan for the summer? Will you basically, "roll up the sidewalks" and offer little if any opportunities for children at your church? I know of churches where they do this. They no longer offer a mid-week opportunity, they do not hold Sunday school or Children's Church, they offer "special" events, but only one time a month in the Summer and many are even ending their Vacation Bible School. 

I know of other churches where they look at the Summer as the perfect opportunity to, "kick it into high gear" and they offer Terrific Tuesdays and Thursdays where children are engaged in fun activities and meaningful learning - every Tuesday and Thursday all Summer long. Where they run their VBS on Sunday mornings and inject a high level of "fun" into their Sunday morning Bible learning - and lots of Bible learning takes place as well. I know of churches which engage children in opportunities to serve throughout the Summer - where they absolutely do not, "roll up their sidewalks", because they see these three months as the perfect opportunity to engage children and families as they do not go to school during the Summer and both children and parents/grandparents are looking for opportunities to, "do something".

What is your church like? Do you "roll up your sidewalks" or "kick it into high gear"?

If you are the first, think about the following. If your church offers little, if any, opportunities for children, it is likely the children will not want to go to church. Parents may make the children go - but the more children protest, the less likely tired parents are to make them go and before long, the entire family stays home. If this becomes a habit over the Summer, it may be difficult to get back into the habit of attending when Fall arrives - you may lose this family. If the parents decide your church does not offer meaningful opportunities for their children, and they want to go to church, they may look for a new church which will engage their children - and you may lose this family. If the children attend with grandparents, they are very likely to not force their grandchildren to attend - it may be the only reason they are able to take the grandchildren with them if they want to go, so they are not able to force them to do so. In this instance you may lose the children, the grandparents and the opportunity to be used in some way to help draw back the parents.

The over-riding theme to this is, if you do not engage children, so they want to be part of what you are doing, you are likely to lose the children and the people who are bringing them. This is a very high price to pay.

So pray - before you do anything and get others to pray with you. It is too easy to pray and decide God is telling you to do what you already decided to do. Get others to pray with you and listen to what they sense before sharing your opinions. Look for ways to implement an engaging line-up of Summer opportunities. Do NOT, "roll up your sidewalks." Do the work of recruiting - casting vision and helping your volunteers see the "why" of offering engaging and effective ministry opportunities throughout the summer.

It all matters.