Growing post-Christendom churches through toddler groups

I want to draw on people's experience of church toddler groups. Stuart Murray's book, 'The Church after Christendom', talks of the development of mid-week church, including toddler groups. Stuart argues here that it is better for toddler groups and other mid-week activities to see themselves as church and to seek to develop a number of related activities/ministries around themselves, rather than relying on 'the vain hope' (I quote) that people will make the transition to Sunday worship services. I have already e-mailed Stuart about this, out of the sabbatical research I did last year. I discovered that from the 60 churches within the Central Baptist Association (Herts, Bucks, Beds, Northants), nearly 60% said they had seen parents/carers making the transition to the wider life of the church in the last 5 years. Half of this 60% said they had seen people coming to faith.

I am keen to hear other peoples experiences, 'cos I want to help toddler groups to learn from each other and find ways of enabling people to make this transition.

Based on my research, the Baptist Union has produced a 'Mission File' entitled, 'Grow Toddler Groups, Grow Churches. With the Baptist Union, Care for the Family and the Go Project in the north-west, we are hoping to provide day conferences to encourage toddler group leaders and help them to network together. I would be interested in any response to this, either posted here or sent to me direct. My e-mail is colcris@dircon.co.uk. Thanks.

Colin Cartwright