One of the most important stages of my life was the time when my wife and I were expecting our first child and the first days at home with baby. Even though we don’t still go to that church, or even regularly keep up with the folks there, we still remember every person who visited us in the hospital or brought us a meal after our son was born. What special memories and how impactful upon a young couple!
If you are a children’s minister or have a ministry to expectant and new parents in your church, what are some things you can do to help expectant and new parents? Consider the following 5 ways to impact new and expectant parents in your church.
- Be available. Many families have elaborate support systems built in, but don’t assume new parents have grandparents in town who can help with child care. Connect them with church members of similar a life stage and those who can be mentors for these young parents. Best of all, provide a list of reliable babysitters or help out yourself.
- Listen more, talk less. Parents don’t need advice (unless they ask for it). They will be bombarded with enough advice from family and even strangers on the street. Parents need someone to listen to their concerns and needs. Focus more on encouragement and connecting parents to the help they need. They will see you as in their corner, not someone to avoid who might tell them something they could be doing better.
- Take a meal or gift card. There is no greater relief to a new parent than having the evening meal already planned. Connect parents to a small group of those at a similar life stage who can help and build relationships along the way. Arrange a time to deliver the meal but don’t stay if not invited. If you are invited in, stay long enough to view the precious little one and pray. That will be meaningful without overstaying your welcome.
- Provide resources. Quick, easy to read helps are best — not long parenting guides. Consider giving a copy of BabyLife magazine. BabyLife is a special undated edition of ParentLife, focused specifically on kids from birth to 2. Check it out at lifeway.com/babylife.
- Communicate ministries available for new parents. You may have child care, mother’s day out, new and young parent Sunday School classes, parenting classes, new baby dedication ceremonies, or other ministries that will not only appeal to parents but equip them in the days ahead. You could tell the parents in person but, even better, email or have a special handout for parents that shows you care and parents — and babies — are important to your church.
Follow these guidelines, and you will certainly go a long way toward helping new parents feel welcome and cared for by your church.
William Summey is the Publishing Team Leader for ParentLife, kids devotionals, and short-term products. He is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Vanderbilt University. William lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Christy, and two boys.