I have a cool situation at the church I attend. I’m good friends with leadership and they trust me ? letting me in on a lot of the top level decisions. But I’m not on staff. I’m just a volunteer. And about half of the Sundays during the year, I simply attend. So I get to see both the high level philosophy of the church but also experience what one of the “regular” people experience coming to the church.
My brother and his wife just started attending our church along with their baby girl. Sitting next to them during the service, I’ve had a front row seat to what parents experience at our church.
They were apprehensive at first about dropping off young Elise in the nursery. To be honest, they usually go to the service where my wife or one of her sisters are working in the nursery. It’s a source of some anxiety to trust their little girl to strangers’ hands. I’ve also seen them freak out when a little number pops up on the service’s main screens indicating a child is having a tough time. They dig in their pockets and purse to see Elise’s number, making sure it isn’t her. But even when it’s some other child’s number, they still whisper to each other and wonder how she’s doing in the nursery.
This is a lot of parents’ experience in the service. It can be tough to focus on the worship experience when you’re worried about your child’s experience.
One week, though, I saw something beautiful happen. A number had just flashed on the screen ? it wasn’t Elise’s number. But a few minutes later they got a text from my sister-in-law who was working in the nursery that day. It was a simple selfie of her and Elise, and Elise was all smiles. I saw my brother and his wife instantly relax. They both smiled at each other and then fully engaged with the service once again.
It occurred to me: That might be one of the best ideas when it comes to putting parents’ minds at ease during the service. Imagine sending a simple snapshot of a child worker and the child having fun in the nursery. (Assuming, of course, that the baby isn’t crying the whole service.)[quote]Imagine sending a simple snapshot of a child worker and the child having fun in the nursery.[/quote]
Since most church check-in systems already get the parents’ cell phone number as part of the registration, it would be easy to snap a shot during the service and text it to the parents.
But wait! Wouldn’t that be distracting? I actually believe it would help them focus more. The true distraction is the horrible things they’re imagining happening to their kid during the service.
So what do you think? Interested in trying it? Here are some ideas to make sure your teams do this well.
- Have one volunteer designated to take the pictures. It’ll ensure it looks good and that it doesn’t just look like a random volunteer took a selfie with?their kid.
- Don’t promise to send a picture. That way, if the kid is having a rough time, you don’t need the parents to worry extra during the service.
- Send a short message with something like, “Looks like *child’s name* is having a great time. Hope you’re enjoying the service!” A picture with no caption might look more like a ransom text than an encouragement.
- You probably want to stick with kids two and under for this sort of thing. Parents might be weirded out if you send a pic of their 10 year-old.
- If you’re hesitant, try this on a per-situation basis. Have the check-in worker note any parents who seem nervous about leaving their children. Opt to only send to them.
Christmas would be a great time to start this. Experiment the week or two before so you can get your processes in order, then help all the newcomers to your Christmas services fully engage with the service.
What do you think? Do you see something like this working? Have you tried this at your church? Chime in with a comment below.