Multiple Options

Your name and church

Anna Hawken, St Paul’s, St Albans

How did you use the Parenting for Faith materials?

As a fortnightly course. Each session ran three times: once in the daytime with a creche, that same evening and then a repeat of that same session the following week in the evening.

Why did you choose to use the sessions like this?

I was wanting to really encourage a culture shift amongst the parents and children’s leaders so was keen for as many of them as possible to do it. I needed to think through how to make that possible with work commitments and babysitting. To have three different options for each session meant that most people could attend. Some couples chose to have one parent come one week and one the following week. Some swapped babysitting with each other so that couples could attend together and the reciprocal arrangement meant they didn’t have to pay anyone. In some families, one parent came in the morning to the daytime session with the creche and then one parent came in the evening. We also had a lot of parents who travel/work away a lot – having two evening options for each session meant they attended more of the course than they would have been able to otherwise. We also brought a microwave and had spare food for anyone who came straight from the station. The fortnightly pattern allowed time for people to share about it with others and we had more people asking to join as the course went on.

What day and time did you choose and how often?

Wednesdays, 9.30 – 11.30am and 7.45 – 9.30pm

Did you have to adapt the material to make it work for your sessions? If yes, can you tell us what you did?

For variety and to make it more specific to our situation, some weeks we replaced one of the video sections with a live talk that used the terminology and examples from our own children’s groups. We also did this a few times to catch up when we’d had to start late or finish early if a lot of the children in creche were unsettled.

What went well?

We saw really significant change in our children and their relationships with God; in parenting on a Sunday; and the attitudes of parents to faith, church and the children’s ministry.

What didn’t go so well?

Some people felt a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities and we had to do a bit of praying and talking through things with individuals where the course had raised things for them personally.

Would you use the material like this again?

Absolutely. It was a lot of work but so worth it to take lots of the parents on the journey together.

Do you have any top tips for others who might want to use the sessions like this?

If possible, I would try and get two or three different leaders for the different groups as it’s a lot for one person.