When a family in your Community Group welcomes a new child it’s a time of celebration! Whether that child came biologically or through adoption/fostering, we rejoice with our people and plan ahead to come along side serving them in their time of need. A new baby/child changes a family dynamic and gives Community Groups a great opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus in tangible ways. As leaders, it’s our job to assemble our groups and help these families as they transition and grow. Here are a few ways we can be proactive:
Set up a meal plan. A very tangible way to minister to a family of a new baby is to set up some meals for them during their transition time. This will require some planning on your part but will pay large dividends in the end. A few weeks before the baby arrives carve out some time to get directions from the parents-to-be: Do they have allergies or food aversions? How many will be eating? What time do they want their meals delivered?
There are two websites that are often used when setting up online meals: takethemameal.com and mealtrain.com. Both of these websites allow you to plug in all the information you’ve gathered from the family, plug in address and phone numbers, etc. This makes it easy to allow others to jump in and serve.
There is also the “old fashioned” method of just asking people in your group to take a meal. Write up your own schedule, pass it around at Community Group and encourage your people to plan ahead.
The responsibility of making and taking meals doesn’t all fall on one person – everyone in the group should participate! You, as the leader, need to set up the plan and encourage people to sign up and serve. Don’t forget to sign up for a meal date yourself. We lead by example!
Plan a visit to the hospital. Some new parents may desire a visit during their hospital stay. Saylorville Church tries to send at least one pastor to the hospital to visit and pray with new parents, but as our church grows we rely on our Community Group leaders. Find out ahead of time if the family is open to visitors or if they prefer a quiet hospital stay. Be respectful of their wishes. You can then pass that info on to your Community Group.
Offer Care. The first few weeks after a new baby/child can be an exhausting time for a family, particularly the mother. Are there other ways your group could step in to lighten the load? If there is no extended family living near, this would be especially appreciated. A few ideas to care for a new family:
- Caring for other children in the family
- Picking up groceries or running other errands
- Small housework tasks or even yard work
Work together as a group to think of creative ways to bless the new family. Most importantly, be praying for them as they transition and be patient as they blend back into your group.
Keep an eye on that meal plan. As a group leader you will want to keep an eye on the meal plan making sure people are getting signed up. Be proactive seeking out families to take a meal. Share the link to the meal plan on social media. If you are still having a hard time filling the plan (and everyone in your group has signed up) let the church office know – often they will know of people who will want to help.
The body of Christ in action is an awesome thing! When we sacrificially spend time, money, and effort on our people great things can happen. God calls us to care for each other!
Check out this charge from Alexander Strauch in his book, “The Hospitality Commands”, “…we are to actively pursue, promote, and aspire to hospitality. We are to think about it, plan for it, prepare for it, pray about it, and seek opportunities to do it.”
Caring for a family of a new child takes planning and it’s our privilege to love on them in this way!