Here are some additional ways we make our tough policy of “No Kids Allowed” in the adult service a little easier at our church:
- We try not to surprise people – On our Web site we clearly describe what 1st-time guests can expect when they arrive (see page here).
- We focus people on the positives, not the negatives – Our greeters don’t start by bouncing people out of the service. We first walk new families to the check-in area, explain all the benefits, features, and safety provisions of our children’s ministry, and encourage them to check in.
- We train those dealing with parents how to do the above – Otherwise, it would be easy too fall into a defensive posture and quickly offend guests. These are sensitive issues, and people must be trained and equipped to deal with them gracefully.
- We offer an alternative. Regardless of how great the children’s ministry is, some people won’t entrust their most prized possession (their kids) into a stranger’s hands. I get it. So we set up a family area where parents can watch the service via video with their kids instead. It isn’t optimal, but it is a compromise. And it is only intended to be a transition.
- We are consistent. We no longer bend on this policy. We used to do so, and it quickly created confusion and frustration. Now, the policy is the policy for everyone all the time. (The family area option made this easier for us to be firm on.)
- We cast vision – We explain to guests, remind volunteers, and remind ourselves of the why behind the what regularly. When we know why we do what we do, it makes it easier even if it can be hard at times.
- We are prepared to accept the consequences. Occasionally, people visit, hear their options, get mad, and leave. We don’t like that, but we can live with it. Not because we’re heartless, but because we remember the reasons for this policy (as I shared a few days ago), and because we know that people only choose to leave after they have rejected a top-notch kids’ ministry as well as an alternative compromise.