“About 40 percent of the American labor force now works some form of nonstandard hours, including evenings, nights, weekends and early mornings,” according to a recent New York Times article. This article goes on to discuss the growing number of childcare centers across the country now offering evening and overnight care hours.
Although our initial reaction to this trend might be sadness or outrage, we have to recognize these parents are living in the real-world circumstances of our economic state.
Morgan Miller, a single mom and nurses aide who takes classes in the morning before her evening shift at a nursing home, told the NYT’s reporter that her son, Izaiah, lives at childcare three days a week. “It’s hard, but I’m doing what I have to do to make his life better.”
If childcare centers are adjusting to accommodate nontraditional hours, should family ministries consider the same move?
Could there be families in your community who work late on Saturday nights and can’t attend a Sunday morning FX?
How many parents in your ministry have to miss a weekday evening event because they’re at work?
Are there like-minded childcare centers in your community you could partner with?
Reggie Joiner, the founder of Orange, teaches that “Families don’t need a better picture, they need a bigger story.” Instead of asking the families in our ministry and community to fit the traditional picture of family, perhaps we need to meet them where they are and introduce them to God’s bigger story of redemption and love.
Maybe an FX could be scheduled for a Friday afternoon or evening.
Maybe language needs to shift so “MealTime” discussions aren’t always at dinner.
Maybe a childcare center would join you in ministering to families.
Whether you decide to make a change or not, how does this trend affect your thoughts on family ministry?