Have you tracked families' attendance patterns
in your ministry? How often do average families attend in a month?
As I talk with ministry leaders across the country, many say
families attend twice a month on average. When I checked our
attendance patterns, I found some families attend nearly every
week, but more fell into the twice-a-month category. So what
• Busyness -- Families are busier than ever and time's
precious. They make choices based on crowded schedules, and
sometimes their choice isn't church.
• Sports -- Games often fall on Sundays, and even a
full day of Saturday events can affect Sunday morning attendance.
Traveling sports teams can pull families out of church for weeks at
• Divorce -- When kids split time between Mom and Dad,
their attendance can be cut in half.
• Priorities -- Many families simply don't make weekend
services a priority.
• Work -- Parents' jobs may require them to work on
weekends, leaving kids without a ride to church.
What are ministries to do? We strive to help families grow in
faith -- but that's hard when seats are empty. As you work to reach
families with inconsistent attendance, remember these things.
• Think big. Realize that in a month you minister to
more families than weekly average attendance shows. Each month you
may minister to two or three times the number of families attending
on a single weekend.
• Instill values. Talk about the benefits of weekly
attendance, and model it as a priority for your family.
• Offer options. The more service options you offer,
the more opportunities families have to attend. A parent who works
on Sunday could come to a Saturday night service.
• Think longevity. If you want kids to learn a biblical
truth, teach it for several weeks with different lessons. Announce
special events for several weeks in a row so more people have the
opportunity to participate.
• Become irresistible. Create an environment kids don't
want to miss. If kids wake up begging to go to church, parents are
more likely to get them there.
We'd love to have 52 weekends a year to impact families, but in
many cases it's 26 or less. Don't get frustrated -- use your time
wisely with the families you minister to. Your consistent
commitment to reach them is a ministry that goes beyond the Sunday
Dale Hudson is children's pastor at Central Christian Church
in Las Vegas, Nevada, and contributing author to Children's
Ministry in the 21st Century (Group).