A church should encourage the spiritual development of all who visit, attend and call it home. As a pastor or ministry leader, you might be wondering how to promote church growth so your congregation can thrive. Improving attendance creates a community and connects people to your mission. Consider ways to make people of all ages feel welcome in your church, including young families with kids.
Youth and kids programs are vital to your church’s mission because they raise up leaders in the next generation. Explore some of the reasons why installing an indoor playground at your church can help attract families and meet the needs of your overall community.
Table of Contents
- The Importance of Improving Church Attendance
- Tips for Increasing Church Attendance
- How to Attract Families to Your Church
- Advantages of Youth Programs and Indoor Playground Equipment for Church Programs
The Importance of Improving Church Attendance
Attendance connects visitors and members to your church’s mission. A healthy worship experience includes ministries that inspire faith and build community. The key in your church growth strategies is to promote engagement instead of focusing on the number of people attending.
Take your congregation’s worship experience to the next level by transforming attendees into people who are passionate about their faith. Instead of creating a church that simply meets the community’s needs, you want to get everyone involved to develop a sense of belonging and encourage faithful attendance.
Engaged attendees are more likely to participate in ministries and invite their friends to a worship service. They live out your church’s mission and help others see your unique vision. Having passionate members can make your church grow naturally.
Tips for Increasing Church Attendance
You can encourage people in your local community to visit your place of worship by following these tips:
1. Create a Welcoming Environment
Give guests an excellent first impression of your place of worship when they first walk through the front door. Newcomers or those who haven’t been to church in a while are often hesitant about where they belong. When you make everyone feel included, they’ll be more likely to return.
Try to understand how newcomers feel to make them as comfortable as possible. Make an effort to ask their names and get their contact information to send them resources about your church programs. You may also want to have someone send them a follow-up note after the service. A family can invite them over for dinner to get to know them better. Having excellent follow-up and welcome methods humanizes your church and establishes fellowship among your congregation.
2. Offer Online Services
Expecting congregation members to attend church every week can make them feel isolated and guilty. Between health challenges, work obligations or family commitments, they might have to miss an in-person Sunday gathering. Offer the opportunity for your church members and newcomers to watch your services online so they can be part of the worship experience from home, at work or on vacation.
Even when they’re physically apart from the church community, fellow members can connect through worship and learning online. New families can discover if your church is a good fit for them by watching online before committing to an in-person service.
3. Ask Your Congregation for Feedback
Sometimes it’s challenging for church leaders to see the big picture of meeting their community’s needs between administrative tasks and preparing for sermons. Try asking your visitors and members for feedback about their worship experience to get them involved in making decisions. They’ll be happy to provide you with helpful tips and advice, especially if it means your church will better accommodate their needs and desires.
Send a survey to first-time guests and long-time members about what they’ve thought of your church recently. Ask them questions about their worship experience, the relevance of your sermons and the volunteer and recreational activities available. Then, have a meeting with your staff about what you’d like to change to make your church more welcoming and attractive to your community.
4. Encourage Church Members to Bring Friends
Speak often about the importance of inviting friends and family members to an in-person worship service. Whether the member’s friend is religious or skeptical, hearing someone they trust recommend a place for them to spend a Sunday morning may encourage them to come. You may want to have a designated day where everyone brings someone for the first time to make all the newcomers feel like they belong. It’s also helpful to have a virtual or print invitation explaining your church’s programs and service times.
5. Share Videos on Social Media
Posting a video clip of an activity at your church is like giving viewers a trailer before they see the movie. Many people interested in attending church want to know what your sermons are about and what you do before visiting a worship service in person.
You can use your phone to record what happens on a Sunday morning or take some clips of your most recent sermon. When you post the video online, encourage your congregation to share it with their friends and family who might be interested in attending.
6. Promote Small Groups
Your church focuses on community and the transformational power faith brings to each member of your congregation. During a typical church service, the attendees listen and go home. They need intimate gatherings in small groups to help them feel a sense of belonging.
Small groups grow your church because they encourage vulnerability and accountability that’s difficult to achieve on a Sunday morning. When everyone is part of a small group, they feel connected to the overall church. These gatherings also allow your staff to recognize and train potential leaders in the church.
7. Challenge People to Serve
After your members have attended for a while, you can encourage them to take their faith to the next level. Church volunteers are committed to the mission. Being part of the different ministries at your church allows them to put their beliefs into action. Serving reminds your congregation of the bigger picture and promotes a selfless attitude among those in your community.
When visitors attend your church for the first time, they often wonder where they can fit in. Stir up conversations to discover their interests, whether they like to cook or enjoy working with kids. Let them know about the different ministries available to help them determine where they belong. Serving in the church allows them to use their gifts and interests to bless others.
8. Focus Your Church’s Programs Around the Mission
Your church programs should focus on the overall mission to keep people engaged. Include ministries that help your congregation feel involved and connected to your beliefs and values. People might get overwhelmed or lose interest if you give them too many choices. Keep your programs simple and help your members see the church as a vital community instead of a club that exists to serve their needs.
Since your church has a limited amount of time and resources, you need to focus on what activities enhance your mission. When you get rid of irrelevant programs, you focus on the ministries that matter to you and your church.
How to Attract Families to Your Church
People of all ages enjoy family-friendly churches because of the vitality kids bring to the community. Younger people want a place to belong, where their kids are free to be themselves. Since young adults are more likely to take a step of faith and bring their kids to church, investing in families is a necessary part of your mission.
A healthy kids ministry points to a thriving church. Think about what matters to parents and kids so you can meet their needs when they visit and attend a worship service. Follow these tips to make them feel welcome and help them fit in your community.
1. Make It Easier for Parents to Attend and Get Involved
Parents with little ones at home struggle to get out the door and make it to church on time. Instead of judging them or making them feel guilty for being late, meet them at the door and help them feel welcome. Consider some of these ways you can make it easier for young families to attend:
- Set up clear, straightforward signs: When parents are running late, it might be challenging for them to find their way around your church. Use signs with large fonts that are easy for them and their kids to read and figure out where to go.
- Assign volunteers to help young families: Encourage those serving in your church to look out for parents who may be struggling in the parking lot or the lobby with their kids. A friendly face makes them feel welcome, but it’s helpful for your volunteers to go the extra mile in making them feel special. A designated member could make a cup of coffee for a single parent or escort them to the nursery.
- Get young families involved in your church: Parents may not feel like they can volunteer because of their lack of availability. Invite them to serve in a ministry that doesn’t require them to be on time to church so they can still feel like part of the congregation. You should also provide programs for kids during the worship service to help them find their place in the church.
- Streamline your check-in process: Having an organized kids ministry gives parents peace of mind as they drop off their little ones before the worship service. Give parents a quick, convenient check-in process and take their contact information so you can reach out to them if their kids need them.
- Run background checks on your volunteers: Another way to give young families peace of mind is to have all your kids ministry workers go through background checks and emergency training.
2. Make Kids Feel Involved and Welcome
Congregation members who are involved in kids ministry should have genuine love and care for kids. Parents can tell the difference between people who feel called to offer their kids support and encouragement and those who serve out of obligation. You can show love to the kids who attend your church by:
- Remembering their names: Kids feel welcome and included when volunteers call them by name. Make every effort to remember who visits your church and have a system in place for collecting names.
- Letting kids be kids: Little ones can sometimes be distracting during a church service when they ask questions or start crying. Your church should focus on letting kids be themselves and giving parents grace when their kids get fussy. Allow parents to soothe their crying babies during the church service. It also helps to provide them with a place to take their kids so they can still listen to the sermon while calming them down.
- Giving moms a designated nursing area: Babies need a comfortable, private place to eat. Mothers might feel uncomfortable nursing their babies in public or in the bathroom stall. Giving them a place to watch the sermon while they feed their kids makes them feel like they belong instead of being a burden.
3. Foster Relationships Among Young Parents and Kids
Young parents often lack a set of close friends due to schedules filled with work and family responsibilities. Your church can provide an opportunity for young families to meet and connect with one another. You can build relationships and create a sense of belonging among parents and kids through:
- Creating small groups for parents: When parents form relationships with others, their kids can also become friends. Since young families often have busy schedules, you’ll want to provide small groups at a convenient time, such as a Sunday morning. You may also consider offering child care for small groups that meet on the weeknights.
- Pairing families with older couples: It’s helpful for younger families to have relationships with people who are ahead of them on their faith journey. Encourage older couples to take young parents out to dinner or sit with them during the service. These connections allow the parents to ask questions and feel supported. Their kids will also enjoy having older couples in their lives who can share stories and encourage them.
- Reaching out to young families regularly: After a young family visits your church, have someone call them and see how they enjoyed the service. This simple gesture makes families feel like part of your church, and it helps you figure out how to meet their needs.
Advantages of Youth Programs and Indoor Playground Equipment for Church Programs
Investing in the kids and youth in your congregation creates an environment that fosters spiritual, social and physical growth for people of all ages. Explore some of the ways having a church playground and youth programs can benefit your church community:
1. Builds Fellowship
The families in your community want a safe place to bring their kids, that also provides support and opportunities for community. Kids who interact at a playground learn positive social skills, such as empathy and teamwork, that’ll help them form relationships with others their age. Making friends at church will encourage kids to come back so they can play again. As they interact with one another and participate in new activities, they may develop new interests and have fun with those around them.
2. Encourages Mentorship and Spiritual Accountability
It’s challenging to be a kid or a teenager in today’s day and age. As kids grow and develop, they need mentors who model a life of faith outside of their family members and reflect the values they learn at home. Youth programs and kids activities give young ones a place to ask questions and form relationships with those older than them. It also allows older teens to serve the younger generation, applying what they’ve learned over the years.
Kids and teens also need accountability to help them make better decisions as they interact with their friends at school, start working and participate in extracurricular activities. They need a place where they can confess their mistakes and share their goals with those around them. Youth programs allow them to share their struggles and successes with people who are going through similar situations.
3. Makes Spiritual Truths Relevant
After attending Sunday School, kids and teens need a place to reinforce what they’ve learned so they can remember it as they grow. Youth programs give teens a safe place to discuss and share their takeaways from church and what they’re reading in the Bible so they can put these truths into practice.
Learning about the Bible can also take place in a church play area. A themed church playground gives kids a space to explore ideas and stories from Scripture in a fun, engaging environment. When kids associate education with fun, they’re more likely to remember what they learned.
4. Demonstrates a Family-Friendly Environment
Word about your church may travel quickly among your community. Install big signs at the entrances of your church’s play area and even outside of your building to show young families there’s a place for their kids to play. When you advertise an indoor playground for kids to use during the worship service, you’ll invite people to come to see what your church is all about.
A play area for kids communicates your desire to facilitate a family-friendly church. It’ll also encourage kids to ask their parents to visit the church. Showing your community that you love kids will attract young families and help them on their spiritual journey.
The next generation brings a unique perspective to the church and provides ideas that can strengthen your congregation. You can attract new parents to your church by advertising your new playground. Giving kids a place to play with one another encourages fellowship among the parents who bring their kids after the service. As a result, parents will be more likely to attend so their kids can play and they can see their new friends.
5. Encourages Healthy Physical Activity
As kids grow, they need to participate in activities that encourage them to develop healthy bones and muscles. As they play together and individually, they can release their energy and build healthy bodies. Helping kids develop a workout routine at a young age encourages them to continue as they mature into adulthood. By providing an environment that promotes physical growth and development, you demonstrate to the community that you care about kids and want to see them thrive.
Browse Soft Play® Church Playground Equipment and Request a Quote
Soft Play has decades of experience providing durable, engaging playground equipment for churches and recreation centers. When you work with us, we’ll customize our play equipment to accommodate your budget and the available space you have in your church building. Browse our church playground products to get an idea of how you want yours to look. Reach out to us online or call 800-782-7529 to request a quote today.