We have several people live tweeting and taking notes during Orange conference. Follow along with the hashtag #OC15.
Here are the tweets that came out of Sherry Surratt’s breakout “Understanding Parents of Preschoolers.”


Recent research found that the average family attend church one out of 3 weekends, if at all.

When MOPS started 40 years ago, moms were very different.

Some facts about moms:

  • Upwards of 40% have no plans of marrying at all.
  • Average age for marriage is 28.
  • Average age first child is 27.
  • It’s a common misconception that families return to church when they have a child.
  • Half of all the families surveyed, 50% said having children did not increase level of church engagement.
  • This generation can’t come back to church because they didn’t go before.

Some facts about dads:

  • He is more involved with the young children than his dad was.
  • He lets his wife make the church decisions and he will come along.

What influenced your choice of going to a church for the first time?

  • The man:  connected with the content of the pastor
  • The wife: looks at the children’s ministry, facilities, etc.

Mom is an open door to get into your church.

The dad’s decision carries a lot of weight as to whether they will stay.

The young mom of today is an amateur marketeer.

  • When she has a product she loves she talks about it to her friends.
  • When she doesn’t like it, she talks about it to her friends.

What does this mean to your children’s ministry?

  • They will talk about you to other moms.
  • Moms care about the brand as much as the content.
  • And if your church check in is a long process, they take note.

The young mom’s mantra: “Don’t waste my time.

Understanding how today’s mom thinks:

  • We try to get there (to church)  and sometimes we don’t.
  • We would love practical parenting help.
  • Its frustrating when it takes me 20 mins to drop off 2 kids because I’m tired or late.
  • When you rooms are full and I can’t take them in the service, I feel like you don’t understand my life and you don’t care.

Top worry:  Am I able to be a good enough mom?  Do I have enough skill, enough time, enough emotional skill and stamina?

  • Your strategy matters as a family leader. They don’t have a strategy and they want you to have one for them.
  • Most parents want help, but they don’t feel like the church can help.
  • If we think about the world of a young mom and dad, what do we offer to help you  to meet your need.

Top 3 things to offer:

  • Friends
  • Help with kids
  • Help with their her life

She doesn’t know what she needs is God, but she will if you can show her.

Think of the young mom as the front door, the young dad as the back door.

Learning the name of 3 women who attend your church will up her chance of coming to your church of 70%.

Southeast Christian has a plan to go past greeting time to meet people.  Have a dinner after every service for families that have been married 2 years, or parents of kids with special needs, or parents married more than 5 years.  Make opportunities to meet and make friends.

How many friends do you need for a dad to be comfortable?  1

Have a strategy:  Your strategy doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.  A strategy has a next step, it has movements.

  • One church offers Mom Concierge: when the car has preschoolers, he meets the car, carries bags, or pushes stroller.
  • Offer valet parking of families of small children.
  • Pinterest:  In area where they drop off the kids they have a Pinterest wall.  Moms love Pinterest

Think how Chick-Fil-A meets mom’s needs.

  • Moms don’t like germs, Chick-Fil-A offers stick down mats for the tables.
  • They don’t like to wait for food, Chick-Fil-A has packs of Cheerios to eat until food comes.
  • Moms like choices – Chick-Fil-A gives a toy or book option in the kid’s meal.

What if we studied young families the same way.

Do you host focus groups? ASK.  What do you think about us?

Preschool parents want some questions answered but don’t know how to ask them.

  • What will my child experience?
  • Who’s taking care of my child?
  • Are the teaches well trained?
  • Will you be teaching anything weird?
  • How will I know what happens?
  • What if my child is unhappy?

Save the best games for the very last activity.  Then when kids leave, they will be having fun.

Check out Parker Hill Community Church


The developed a family map to help families see where they were going.