Narrabeen Baptist Church is in their third generation of children’s ministry. It has taken many different forms over the years, and recently has been broadening to engage the whole family, not just the children. 

“We’re partnering with parents as the primary disciplers of their kids,” explains Kieran Degan, Children and Families Pastor at Narrabeen Baptist. 

One way they’re doing this is by running regular parenting seminars, with a focus on being accessible and relevant for parents. They’ve moved from an evening mid-week, when typically only one parent could attend and babysitting could be hard to organise, to Sunday afternoons. 

“We offer creche and a kid’s program during the seminar and it runs immediately before our evening service, maximising the amount of people that can come,” explains Kieran. “We try to attach things to other things, to make it as natural and easy as possible to buy in.” And it has the added benefit of making it easy for the families invited along from the community to stay on for church. 

Seminar topics have included self-care for parents, emotional regulation, resilience and tech-wise parenting. They are presented by experts in the area, often people who attend the church or are otherwise connected with the church. The afternoons are advertised as being a judgement-free zone. 

“You’ll learn stuff, but you won’t walk out thinking you’re a bad parent,” explains Kieran. 

Kieran plans to keep the parenting seminars as accessible as possible for non-Christian parents. But after surveying the needs of families in the church, he also wants to push into the space of intentionally equipping Christian parents. This will likely be a monthly podcast and will draw on the expertise in the church. 

As a medium size church, Narrabeen Baptist is blessed with many members with skills and experience they are keen to share for the benefit of others in the church community.  

“People tend to love their skills being used,” explains Kieran, “whether it’s money management, teaching or IT, I encourage churches to take a mental inventory of the skills in their church that could be useful for sharing and teaching”. 

Narrabeen Baptist also intentionally makes space for parents to connect and support each other informally. They run quarterly informal gatherings for families on Sunday afternoons, which, like the seminars, flows into their evening service. Families connected with the church gather in the park across the road, playing games and catching up. 

Likewise, their Friday kids club finishes early once a term for a free family BBQ, where dinner’s covered and kids can play while parents connect. 

“Our Christian parents are quite intentional about getting alongside new people and visitors and making them feel welcome,” explains Kieran. 

Parents often say that they feel like Narrabeen Baptist is their church, even if their children only come to a mid-week program and don’t come to Sunday gatherings. And if a new family comes along to a Sunday service, they are quickly integrated into the already active and engaged community. “Families are always the last to leave after the service,” explains Kieran. 

“It’s a real community vibe amongst the families. People are willing to invite their friends along to church and other programs because it’s a safe place and they’ll be encouraged.”


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