By Jenny Funderburke
Very few churches reach younger families without a strong preschool ministry.
Here are nine practical ways to expand the number of preschool children coming to your church.
1. Do it well.
It will be virtually impossible to grow your preschool ministry if you are doing it halfway. Evaluate, identify challenges, and then get busy with improvements. You can’t totally fix anything overnight, but any step forward is a good thing.
2. Follow up immediately with first time guests.
People want you to notice that they were there. Follow up by phone or email soon after the first visit. Don’t be scary or stalkerish, but do let them know that you appreciated having their little one in preschool.
3. Connect with families who have missed three or more Sundays.
People also want to know that you missed them. Set up a system where you are alerted when a family misses a significant number of Sundays in a row. Have a plan to follow up and check in with the family. Tell them you missed them and pray for them.
4. Provide ministry that is attractive to young families.
Partner with other ministries in your church to provide opportunities for parents. This might be a coupon class for moms, parenting preschoolers classes, or other creative ideas.
5. “Bring a family” day.
Preschoolers often can’t bring their friend to church, and even if they did, they can’t really stick without their family. Pick a day and encourage families to find another family to bring. Make this an extra special day for the kiddos so that they love it.
6. Connect with daycares in the area.
Form a partnership. Consider providing a fun day or fun treat for the daycare kids. Seek opportunities to advertise through them.
7. Partner with businesses that preschool mama’s visit.
These partnerships could take on a variety of forms. Find ways to mutually benefit each other. You find natural ways to advertise for the business and look for ways the business can advertise for you.
8. Connect families with each other.
Preschool parents can often feel isolated. Look for chances to connect them to others. This might be short term parenting classes or creating long term small groups. It might just be a simple playdate where everyone meets someone new.
Seriously, pray. Pray for the families in your care and the ones out there without a church home. Never, ever underestimate the power of praying for God to help you reach the unreached.
Jenny Funderburke writes for Ministry-To-Children.com, a resource started by Tony Kummer to solve children’s ministry problems.