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California Church Strengthens Families with Babysitting


Every parent needs a break once in awhile. So Bethany Christian Reformed Church, Bellflower, Calif., started a babysitting co-op to give parents a safe and inexpensive place for their kids to stay while they get a night out.

“My wife noticed several couples that never got a date night because the cost was too great and they didn't have family nearby who would babysit for free,” said Lon Wagner, minister of discipleship at Bethany. The co-op idea was born.

For the last three years, 10-12 families have joined together to provided a three-hour block of babysitting one Saturday each month. There is a $10/month fee to be involved and the couples agree to help supervise the kids one night out of the year. “The money covers the cost of purchasing snacks each month, getting some new games or craft supplies, and providing a stipend for teenage helpers,” said Laura Pheifer.

The kids play board games, do crafts, and join in other activities. “My children look forward to this night each month, and enjoy the different flavor each adult couple brings to the night,” said Pheifer.

The adults get an inexpensive night to get away by themselves or with other couples. “We are so refreshed when we pick up our children,” said Rachelle Hoogeveen.

Wagner said the co-op has had an impact. “I always thought that the ministry that would have the greatest impact on our families would be a class or seminar or retreat focused on parenting or marriage. But over the past three years, the ministry that has impacted our families the most has been the co-op,” he said.

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