Can you remember the first time you visited your church? Do you recall the way you felt? Were you greeted warmly and guided to a Bible study class or the worship center? Did you leave after that first visit and feel that you had a good experience?
Now think about the preschoolers coming to your group for the first time. Think about their parents. When you open the door, you greet not only the child, but also his family. How can you make the first impression a positive one for the entire family?
- Smile. Your caring smile and cheerful attitude may calm the heart of a hurried or concerned parent. A preschooler is immediately drawn to a smiling face.
- Kneel. Stoop down to the child’s eye level. Look directly at him and call him by name. This shows the child and his parents that the preschooler is important to your church and to you.
- Reassure the family. Your gentle understanding of their anxiety will help allay their fears.
- Communicate. Tell parents what you will do to provide a loving, secure, and fun experience for their preschooler. Describe a few of the activities and approaches you use to teach the Bible to children in your class.
- Pray. Pray for each child and his family and ask God to reveal just the right way to meet needs.
Families with preschoolers will come to your church from a variety of circumstances and experiences. You are privileged to minister to children and families at this time right where they are. Receive preschoolers with joy when they come to your door, and remember, first impressions are often lasting impressions.
Rachel Coe is content editor for Explore the Bible: Preschoolers resources. She guides preschoolers in Bible explorations every week at her church [in Mt. Juliet, TN].