Offer A Gospel-Graced Pathway
Couples have long benefitted from premarital classes and counseling. Wouldn’t they also benefit from similar support before they become parents, an even bigger transition? You can provide a clear guidance for them with The Newborn Promise Project Collection designed for this important life phase.
Use these 5 steps to establish an intentional pathway for lasting connections with new families, as they spiritually heal and thrive alongside Jesus. All recommended materials work independently and together for equipping them.
Step 1: Fill the gap after premarital counseling
Is your church brimming with babies and children? Today’s new parents are actively seeking ways to spiritually nurture their growing families. You can guide newlyweds, and expecting and new parents, by filling the gap after premarital counseling.
Give couples a gift copy of Your Newborn Promise Project: A Christian Pre-Parenting Primer for Husband and Wife to share God’s plan for this transformative season and how he equips them for it. They will grow individually, building their personal faith and strengthening their marriages, as they prepare themselves to be parents.
To foster connections with others and extend the conversation, offer Your Newborn Promise Project Group Study. The study provides everything a large or small group needs for six sessions. Even couples who have already become parents and are new to faith can benefit from such a study and learn from others while making new friends.
The primer and study guide are supported by free True Story Videos, which highlight real couples in the trenches working out the challenges of everyday life. They have coped with miscarriage, infertility, special needs children, adoption—you name it! These loving couples share real struggles that they admit only surviving through God’s grace and their faith.
Over and over again in the Bible, God urges his people to Love, Remember, Seek, Question, and Persevere. The Primer, Study, and Videos are anchored by these spiritual abilities, which nurture our relationship with God and others.
To meet a variety of personal needs, be sure couples know about the Newborn Promise Podcast, which features top experts and celebrities in three series on important milestones:
—Starting a Family: Trials and Hope
Special guests discuss miscarriage, abortion, fostering, adoption, child-loss, infertility, as well as the joys of being an expecting father, featuring Brandon Heath.
—Baby at Home: Survive and Thrive
Learn about postpartum depression, tips for first-time moms and dads (from Kari Jobe and Timothy Ateek), loving the little years, over-coming fears, as well as how to be a moment-maker dad, featuring Carlos Whittaker.
—Growing Faith: Parent and Child
Hear the best advice on defining and shaping influences, Shepherding a Child’s Heart (with Dr. Tedd Tripp), Grace Based Parenting (with Dr. Tim Kimmel), and understanding the special role of grandparenting.
Step 2: Celebrate new parenthood
Churches offering baby dedications want them to be personal and meaningful. And they present an outreach opportunity: Baby dedications are often an on-ramp for couples who have been away from church, but desire the tradition for their child. Reach out to these newcomers with resources from Step 1.
Consider expanding your tradition to celebrate new parenthood as well. Consider calling it a Parent + Baby Dedication and include a commitment of prayer and support from the church family—a reassuring message that you’ve “got their back” in the uncertain times ahead.
Make it a priority to have a coordinator for outreach and planning. You might put out feelers for a volunteer coordinator with a passion for the ministry, who loves babies and will pray over and serve their parents. This also would be an ideal time to connect new parents with experienced mentor couples, if your church offers such a program.
Step 3: Encourage life-saving connections
Having a baby brings plenty of physical challenges, but the battle is fought and won on the spiritual plane (Proverbs 18:14). New moms and dads desperately need personal connections to get them through a whole new way of life. Figuring out that life in community can be a lifesaver. All other differences of age, profession, and background fade when you’re all in the same dramatically new stage at the same time.
Encourage the parents participating in Steps 1 and 2 to continue to meet together as small groups. Also, you could tackle relevant topics together in a MOPS-like structured evening program for husbands and wives, while their children are well-tended in the nursery.
Consider hosting a story-time read aloud and music hour with a talented volunteer or two. Invite the whole community to these excellent outreach programs.
Remind everyone about the Expecting and New Parent Blog and the Newborn Promise Podcast, two quality info hubs that provide ongoing support with a Christian perspective on topics expecting and new parents care about most.
Step 4: Enrich Your Early Childhood Ministry
God pours eternity into developing hearts. He plants seeds of longing and love for him as life takes shape in the hidden
place. Before we even see the light of day, God knows us through and through. Spiritual life begins in earnest with life itself. God then brings us into the world with our minds wired and ready to hear his Word.
Inspire parents with newborn facts of life so they understand from the start that their children are primarily spiritual beings. Spiritual Parenting in the First Five Years: God’s Plan for Early Childhood Christian Discipleship will set them on a hope-filled path.
The world today has lost a grip on what it means to be human. But Jesus always calls us back to fundamental truths of how we are physically and spiritually made for a relationship with him.
The beautiful part about life with God is that he makes the most important things about him the easiest to understand. Even young children, at their humble age, are capable of absorbing spiritual realities.
What’s more, words spoken to newborns are so powerful for their development, conclusive studies show, that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a directive for its pediatrician members to advocate reading to children from birth.
Nurture newborns through age 7 with The Learn, Absorb & Praise Board Book Collection
Connect reading and learning with coloring and activities for ages 4 and up
Instruct Pre-K through 2nd Grade: An 8-lesson Unit on the Soul