One of the most frequently asked small group ministry questions is, "What can we do about childcare?"
It's an important question because it is a very real stumbling block for many people. At the same time, the question reveals an assumption that important to deal with. The assumption is that if small groups are really important then somehow the church needs to remove all the barriers that keep me from participating. Is that an overstatement? Only slightly. You dig down into the question and you'll find the assumption down in there.
Most of us, though, will need to answer the question first and then deal with the assumption. Here is how I answer the question:
"First, you can be assured that you and your group are not alone! This is a very common question, a common struggle in adult small groups! While many adults have a genuine desire to get connected in a small group where they can build good relationships and grow spiritually; it is very common for there to be childcare challenges.
Second, you can be assured that there are solutions and there are thousands of groups of all types that have solved the problem and found a way to meet on a regular basis.
Here are some of their solutions:
- Each family makes arrangements for their own childcare needs. This is the most common solution.
- The group may decide to go in together and hire a baby sitter that will come to the house where the meeting is or to another house nearby. This may even be one or more of the older children in some of the families in the group.
- The group may decide to take turns watching the children in another room of the house or in another house nearby.
- The group may be able to work out a co-op relationship with another group that meets on another night.
I usually hand out a form with the four suggestions. You can download the form right here.
Need more on the assumption? Right now, adults everywhere are figuring out how to do the things that they really want to do or need to do. They're playing on softball teams, they're going to night school, going on date nights, traveling for business, and a whole list of other engagements. And they're figuring out what to do with their kids in order to do it. So I ask again, "Does the church need to provide childcare if it wants adults to participate in a group?"