FIRST-PERSON: Tips for ministering to new parents

Baptist Press
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Posted: Jan 31, 2012 5:22 PM
FIRST-PERSON: Tips for ministering to new parents
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 mealbaby.com or takethemameal.com.

-- 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 (www.keeponshining.com) 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 (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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