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FIRST-PERSON: Tips for ministering to new parents

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
INDIANAPOLIS (BP) -- Our granddaughter, Lily, was born in January. (Can you hear me smiling?) As their church lovingly ministered to the new parents, I realized the magnitude of those small acts. Does your church need fresh ideas for a new parent ministry? Try some of these:

-- Food ministry. I was blown away to learn that their church provides six meals, spaced over the first three weeks after a baby arrives. What an amazing gift! New parents complete a form about food preferences, dietary limitations and preferred meal dates. Food is delivered in disposable containers. Use a free scheduling website like or

-- Deliver a well-designed "God's newest miracle" yard sign stating "It's a boy" or "It's a girl," with the church name across the bottom. Remove the sign after a week.

-- Display a single rose bud on Sunday to announce the birth. Deliver it to the parents.

-- Carefully confirm spelling, and announce the birth through your church's email, Facebook, pre-service PowerPoint, bulletin or newsletter notices.

-- Place a sign above the baby in a glass nursery window to encourage admirers.

-- Hang a "God's newest blessing" banner in the nursery area, along with baby's name and birth date.

-- Nursery tour. Invite expectant parents to visit the childcare area and meet workers and parents. A wall display can list due dates so church members can pray for expectant parents.


-- Meet the moms. Invite expectant moms to attend an informal monthly gathering of moms and their babies at someone's home.

-- Special gift. A church may prepare a special gift for newborns. Examples: personalized New Testament or Bible storybook, a wood cross with baby's name and birth date, ceramic bootie with Scripture, gift basket of bath soaps, parents' devotional book, LifeWay's Parent Life magazine and a Christian lullaby CD.

-- Special delivery. A nursery volunteer could visit expectant parents to answer questions, pray and be a friend. Deliver an info packet of nursery policies, training, security and notification plans. Tell how the church desires to minister to their child from birth through teen years.

-- Rocking ministry. One church's senior adult Bible class could offer a rocking ministry. The volunteer simply rocks the baby while the new mom takes a long nap.

-- Baby dedication service. Many churches plan a bi-annual baby dedication service to introduce new babies, provide parents an opportunity to dedicate their home to the Lord, and to recommit as a church to support the families in prayer, Christian teaching and ministries.


-- New parents' luncheon. A bi-annual luncheon for new and expectant parents can encourage them and help establish friendships with other new parents.

The birth of a child brings a fabulous opportunity for ministry. How will your church bless new parents?

Diana Davis ( is an author, speaker and wife of the North American Mission Board's vice president for the Midwest region, Steve Davis. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( and in your email (

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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