Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dumb Things Churches Do #151: How to NOT Attract Young Families to Your Parish

When I arrived at St. Alban's in December of 2010 with a wife and young toddler in tow I was shocked to see that the church did not have a changing table.

Keep in mind this church had two previous rectors who both had children while pastoring the parish, as well as postulants whose wives bore children while they were attending the church, and of course, the occasional parishioners who had kids, and friends and family of parishioners that sometimes brought babies to church. What did all of these women do when they had to change their kids' diapers?

If you go into any store or restaurant, or even a truck stop, there is a changing table for kids. There are changing tables everywhere in the world except, it seems, in some continuing Anglican parishes. Many churches complain about not being able to attract young families. Why complain about not being able to attract them when you don't provide for their most basic needs, such as by having a changing table for babies?

So if you wonder why young families are not coming to your parish, think about their needs and put yourself in their shoes. Is you church meeting their basic needs? If not, then perhaps that is a good place to start in terms of attracting young families.

We now have a nice changing table in the ladies room. While it obviously does not attract families to the church in and of itself, if a family with a baby does come, and they need to change a diaper, there is a nice place for them to do it. That shows that we care about them and their children.

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