Saturday, March 29, 2014

The munchkin drop-off point

I've written about drop out points in youth/young adult ministry previously. Currently, my wife and I are in the middle of the oldest, and previously unmentioned, one.

Having a young child.

This drop out (or as it has happened with us - drop off) point arises in a lot of churches with differently-focused evening and morning services. In fact, young families will inevitably face this problem if the service in the morning and evening don't both cater to families with babies or toddlers.


It all has to do with toddlers needing routine. Break the routine and it can throw out the rhythm of the next two days. For us, our little one's bedtime is somewhere between 6:30-7:15pm. My churches evening service starts at 6:30.

Sense the problem?

I would suggest that most evening services, at least initially, are catered towards teens or actual young adults. Thus, they aren't set up for young kids.

But, as the years pass and the "clientele" advance in life stages towards parenthood, some will notice that "their" service no longer suits their needs.

So, in order to fit around their offspring's sleep patterns, they need to attend church in the morning.

But what happens if they don't feel like they fit into the morning service since they've never made a cross-congregation connection or the earlier service isn't appropriate because it's "classic" church with a "quite mature" average attender?

Fortunately, this isn't a problem in many churches since they have some form of "contemporary family service." But this isn't always the case, particularly if a successful youth ministry starts in evening service BECAUSE they wouldn't fit into what is provided in the morning.

Does a young family screw up their child's sleep pattern weekly?
Do they "suffer" through a morning service which they don't connect with?
Does only one parent attend church, alternating, whilst the other looks after the munchkin?
Or, do they go to another, family friendlier, church?

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