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Family Attendance Patterns

Children's Ministry Magazine

Have you tracked families' attendance patterns in your ministry? How often do average families attend in a month? As I talk with ministry leaders across the country, many say families attend twice a month on average. When I checked our attendance patterns, I found some families attend nearly every week, but more fell into the twice-a-month category. So what affects attendance?

• Busyness -- Families are busier than ever and time's precious. They make choices based on crowded schedules, and sometimes their choice isn't church.

• Sports -- Games often fall on Sundays, and even a full day of Saturday events can affect Sunday morning attendance. Traveling sports teams can pull families out of church for weeks at a time.

• Divorce -- When kids split time between Mom and Dad, their attendance can be cut in half.

• Priorities -- Many families simply don't make weekend services a priority.

• Work -- Parents' jobs may require them to work on weekends, leaving kids without a ride to church.

What are ministries to do? We strive to help families grow in faith -- but that's hard when seats are empty. As you work to reach families with inconsistent attendance, remember these things.

• Think big. Realize that in a month you minister to more families than weekly average attendance shows. Each month you may minister to two or three times the number of families attending on a single weekend.

• Instill values. Talk about the benefits of weekly attendance, and model it as a priority for your family.

• Offer options. The more service options you offer, the more opportunities families have to attend. A parent who works on Sunday could come to a Saturday night service.

• Think longevity. If you want kids to learn a biblical truth, teach it for several weeks with different lessons. Announce special events for several weeks in a row so more people have the opportunity to participate.

• Become irresistible. Create an environment kids don't want to miss. If kids wake up begging to go to church, parents are more likely to get them there.

We'd love to have 52 weekends a year to impact families, but in many cases it's 26 or less. Don't get frustrated -- use your time wisely with the families you minister to. Your consistent commitment to reach them is a ministry that goes beyond the Sunday morning service.


Dale Hudson is children's pastor at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, and contributing author to Children's Ministry in the 21st Century (Group).

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