Saturday, May 18, 2013

Is Your Children's Ministry as Family-Friendly as Ikea?

How easy it is for families to visit your church?   No matter what size or model of children's ministry we practice, we should make it as convenient as possible for guests to navigate our facility and spend time worshiping with other families.  This is just basic hospitality and shows our guests how much they matter to God by showing them how much they matter to us.

Check out this picture I took yesterday at the Ikea in West Chester, Ohio:

These guys are smart.  They know they have an uphill battle making the Ikea experience as family-friendly as possible.  The West Chester store is a 334,000 square foot labyrinth of funky home furnishings and Swedish meatballs.  My guess is that not many people just stop in for a minute at Ikea.  It is a major commitment and even a bigger deal with kids.

So how do you encourage moms with babies and young children to hang out there all day?  By eliminating as many hassles as possible.

Check out that list again.  Seriously, how many stores provide diapers and bottle warmers?  They even sell jars of baby food in their dining area.

It's not that Ikea is perfect at this.  It's still a big deal to lug your kids through the sprawling two story complex.  But they are intentional, and because of their intentionality, they've made the experience better for every family.

Why wouldn't we do the same?  No, we don't want families to hang out at church all day.  We want them to go out and love their world, but when the church does gather for worship, let's make it as easy for them to do it as possible.  

Not many churches have facilities the size of Ikea but it's a good exercise to ask yourself what you're doing to make it easy for families to visit your ministry.  If you made a list to show to parents like the one above, what would be it on it?  

Here are a few other things to consider:

  • How clear is your signage to direct guests to Children's Ministry?
  • How inviting are your entrances?
  • How simple (yet secure) is your check-in and check-out process?
  • How friendly and knowledgeable are the people you have welcoming guests into your environments?
  • What out-of-the-box ways can you think of to eliminate hassles in your church like Ikea has done in their stores?
Again, I'm not saying we should be Ikea, but it's the intentionality that transfers to the church.  If families really matter to us, we need to constantly evaluate how we're doing when it comes to welcoming our guests.

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