11 effective ways to attract young families to church

September 6, 2023

If you're a church leader, you may feel stumped about how to attract young families to church. Drawing in young visitors is crucial for your congregation's long-term growth and vitality, but attracting an entire family poses a unique challenge.

In today's fast-paced world, young families navigate work schedules, parenting, and various commitments that leave little room for church attendance. On top of that, shifting societal attitudes toward religion can make traditional church practices less appealing. Ministry leadership needs real, practical strategies to help overcome these obstacles.

Let’s look at several ideas to draw parents, kids, and new families to your church.

6 ways to make parents want to come back to church

Reaching parents should be the first priority in bringing younger generations into your church community. You need to get them through the doors and show them that coming back is worth the effort it takes to get their kids to church each week. From creating an inviting environment to providing spiritual and social support, you'll learn how to set the stage for a positive experience.

1. Provide a great first impression

From the moment parents drive onto your church property, they should feel embraced by a friendly and inviting atmosphere. Designated parking spots for first-time guests, expectant parents, and families with young children can help with this.

As parents enter your church, greeters should welcome them and be ready to assist or answer questions during all service times. Create a central hub where visitors can ask questions and learn how childcare services work. Throughout the church building, provide clear and informative signage to help them navigate effortlessly. 

2. Make a habit of welcoming families 

Consistent and heartfelt welcomes are key to making parents feel valued at your church. To attract and retain families, welcome parents each Sunday with warm smiles from the moment they arrive. At child check-in stations, greet parents personally and offer assistance. 

Encourage church leadership to emphasize the importance of family from the pulpit. Then, after the church service, express appreciation with personalized text messages or emails. These acts help increase the likelihood that parents will return for future events.

3. Embrace technology

Use your church app, website, and social media platforms to share resources, inspiring content, and info about upcoming events. When parents miss a Sunday to care for a sick child, church live streams will help them feel like they're not missing out.

Church technology can also make Sunday check-in quick for children's church. You can streamline child check-in by using check-in stations and integrated church management software. An easily updatable database, pin numbers, and printed name tags will assure parents their kids are safe and accounted for.  

Make your church app more engaging with content from The Chosen & more!

4. Preach messages relevant to younger families

Get parents excited about coming to church each week with messages that speak to the season of life they're in. Launch a sermon series on family-related issues that address the challenges of parenting, raising a family, or managing finances. These provide real value for parents with relevant teaching and guidance.

Another powerful method of connecting with parents is sharing testimonies from attending families before your service and online. Ask them to share why they started coming to church, and how being part of your community has impacted their life. 

5. Develop parenting workshops

Extend your reach beyond weekend worship service by hosting parent workshops. This is an excellent opportunity to bring in parents from your local community who may be reluctant to attend on Sundays. Encourage your congregation to invite unchurched families they know who would benefit from attending a workshop.

Cover topics like parent-child communication, managing children and technology, and work-life balance. Host an open-forum discussion or invite a guest speaker to share practical advice. Make it as easy as possible for parents to attend by providing free child care during the workshop.

6. Create a family resource center

A family resource center is a beacon of support and connection, offering various resources like counseling, a clothing exchange, and essentials like baby formula and diapers. Beyond material assistance, you can provide single-parent support groups, special programs, and parenting classes. 

To establish your own family resource center, start with a designated space within your church. Collaborate with local organizations, charities, and volunteers to source items. Be sure to maintain and update resources regularly. You can even extend real-time support with an online group or page.

5 ideas to make kids want to come back every week

Getting kids excited about attending church can be difficult with school, friends, and extracurricular activities vying for their attention. If you’re a ministry leader, you need to figure out how to make youth programs fun and inviting. Let’s explore some creative ideas to help kids have a great time at church and look forward to returning each week.

1. Create exciting & relevant class themes

Children love belonging to a special class or team. Tailor your children’s church programs to the specific needs and preferences of each age group by coming up with fun and creative themes and names for each class. For example, you can:

  • Bring preschoolers to the Tiny Wonders Club, where they can learn about God’s creation including animals, plants, and the world around them.
  • Create your own Faith Builders Guild, developing faith in your elementary-age attendees through interactive challenges and missions.
  • Assemble a Missions Adventure League to explore global missions, cultural awareness, and how to make a difference in the world with the gospel.

The class name and theme options are endless, so have fun and don’t be afraid to try new things. 

2. Design fun & engaging classrooms

The design of your classroom is just as important as the theme and class name. So, create visually appealing spaces with posters, vibrant colors, and interactive elements. 

To increase engagement, provide fun and age-appropriate classroom activities at all levels. Stimulate the curiosity of preschoolers with sensory exploration and creative art activities. Encourage elementary-age kids to learn through captivating storytelling and hands-on projects that bring biblical concepts to life. Challenge middle schoolers’ cognitive and spiritual growth with relevant Bible studies, verse memorization challenges, and reflection.

3. Create a church mascot

A church mascot is a friendly, approachable character who embodies the spirit and values of your youth ministry. Classroom leaders can use a mascot to teach lessons and engage the kids with an entertaining character who is learning alongside them. Have fun with your mascot, and give them a name, backstory, and unique personality traits. 

When designing your mascot, consider age groups and their preferences. Think about choosing an animal, fictional character, or biblical figure. Use your mascot on classroom posters and promotional materials to build excitement.

4. Develop a child-friendly worship experience

Creating an inviting worship environment is vital for attracting and retaining young families in the church. You can easily integrate children into corporate worship by asking them to serve with a trusted adult. Older kids can assist with ushering and reading scripture, while younger children can announce hymns or songs.

During sermons, help kids stay engaged and focused by keeping their hands busy. Provide bags or boxes filled with things like blank paper, crayons, fidgets, pencils, and soft blocks.

5. Provide welcome gifts for new children

Make kids feel valued and excited about attending your church with a welcome gift. These small tokens of appreciation tell kids they aren't just visitors but special church family members. Both kids and parents will love that you took the time and energy to send them home with a goodie bag. 

Delight them with age-appropriate toys, coloring books, crayons, nut-free snacks, and stickers. You can keep gifts in your visitor's center or have them available for children's church volunteers to hand out after class.

Build a church home for young families

Now that you know how to attract young families to church, you can adapt and implement these fun and practical steps to meet your community’s unique needs. 

Remember, these church growth strategies aren't just about increasing attendance numbers—they’re about cultivating a vibrant and diverse church community. When you maintain an engaging and supportive environment for families at church, you create a welcoming home that they want to come back to each week. 

Related articles you may find helpful


Ashley Powell, Guest author

Ashley is a writer and lover of all things handmade, living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three children. Through research and collaboration with marketing teams, she creates informative and educational content such as reader-focused blogs, guides, and product reviews.

Give your donors the best giving experience with Subsplash Giving.
Learn More