communities and families

What Families Want — And How the Church Can Help

Children playing with a ball at sunset. Image courtesy Zurijeta/

Children playing with a ball at sunset. Image courtesy Zurijeta/

Churches have spent millions attempting to cater to the needs of the young families in their communities.

"Come here! Bring your kids! We have a replica-sized Noah's Ark with real, live animals — a coffee shop that sells Pumpkin Spice lattes — cupholders in the chairs and state-of-the-art acoustics."

From a Millennial mom: this stuff is great. We like it, especially the lattes. But what we really want — what we really need — might not cost a thing.

When I started about a year ago as pastor of a small Lutheran church in the Chicago suburbs, one of my first priorities was to re-start the moms group that had been meeting at the church.

At one time it had served almost as a preschool drop-off. Later it had been held down by one mom and her friends, and as their children grew up no one came to fill the void.

I wanted to make it more than a drop-off, though — I wanted it to be Christian with a capital C. I made some tongue-in-cheek flyers with a black and white photo of a crying baby holding a Bible, and I called it Babies and Bibles.

Then, on a few Thursday mornings, I brought Jake to the church. A few curious moms emailed and showed up, but it never really took off. 

Meanwhile, I missed the close-knit moms group I had in California, where Jake was born. 

I was in the process of giving it all up for awhile, when one day as I drove to church God spoke to me:

"Why are you holding this at the church?" God asked. "It should be at your house."