The key to any change is to be prepared. I’ve found to be the most prepared I need to give myself ample time to get things in order. The first change I made was to cancel the dedication that was scheduled. We did this thing every 3 months, but we would be taking a 6 month break before coming in with something radically different. I needed time to drive up some momentum, and get all my ducks in a row.
Then I began to lay out the steps parents would be taking to dedicate their children. I really wanted to add some hoops for parents to jump through to dedicate their kids. That sounds bad, doesn’t it? I was prepared to give our parents incentive to attend the dedication, but I needed to see how committed they were to the process. If you will go to our child dedication site you will see these steps laid out.
#1 Listen to the Power of Influence podcast. I created the audio file to be played on the website, or downloaded in iTunes. It’s only 25 minutes of audio, and it was meant to get the wheels spinning in the brains of our parents. The podcast is from a talk I gave at Trinity Church in August 2008. In it I talk about the power of Hannah’s influence over her son, Samuel. I know it sounds pretty self-serving, but when I was looking for some audio to have parents listen to I just kept coming back to what I had already done. Sorry.
#2 Register for the class online, and agree to the pre-requisites. What were the pre-requisites? They had to listen to the previously mentioned podcast, and had to agree to attend the class with another person. That’s right. Nobody was going to be allowed to attend the class by themselves. If they were single parents, they were asked to bring grandparents along. If the father was being a jerk and wouldn’t attend, they had to invite someone they hoped might positively influence their child. I felt it was important that everyone in attendance have someone close to them hearing the same things we would cover in the class. I hope that makes sense, but I got no push-back from parents on this. They all seemed to understand.
#3 Attend the class. This sounds like the most obvious, but it was the most important. For 40+ years parents registered kids for dedication by filling out an application. Now they had to attend this short 75 minute class. If they missed the class, they would NOT be dedicating their child. If they left 30 minutes into the class, we would NOT be dedicating their child. If they showed up 30 minutes late, we would NOT be dedicating their child. My assistant called all the families on the Monday before the class reminding them of all these details.
We blitzed the church in the weeks leading up to the class. We sent 100’s of postcard-sized flyer’s home with parents of children 2 and under, promoted it on the church-wide video announcements, had posters up in all the normal church communication areas, and sent out a huge email newsletter outlining the changes and how to register. Everyone of these communication methods just teased the class, and pointed them back to the website. The website was the destination for all information.
In future posts, I will address what we used in the class and what format I taught from. Until then, I encourage you to go to http://dedication.trinitykidsplace.com and check it out our promotion!