- naming a person/family to "adopt" the baptismal family. This role would be to help with child care,transport and other logistics about being at church (like sitting with one child while mom takes the other to the washroom etc.). Another role would be to serve as a source of information about the church and church activities.
- being very intentional about making the church a place where newcomers are welcome. This means a space where people who are less familiar with the traditions and customs of "how things are done" will not be judged for behaving "inappropriately"
- talking to families with young children about what they might want from a faith community
- creating a culture where kids can be kids while worship is happening--not frowned at for talking, not expected to sit still instead of moving
- having an active church school program that may or may not take place on SUnday
- including people of all ages in church activities
- an "adopt a grandparent" program
- mentoring relationships to encourage families and individuals to grow in faith
- a place where questions are welcomed, taken seriously, and answers are talked about
- a chance for parents to tlk about parenting and its challenges in a faith context
SOme of these would work in some places, others in other places. ANd there will always be families who choose not to engage. But we as communities have to take responsibility for what choices we make--and choices in areas like #2,4,6&9 are often made so unconsciously that we don't recognize the messages we are sending.