Dishin’ With Dolores

In 2017, South Main Baptist Church in Houston enjoyed a strong, well-attended Wednesday night children’s programming. But Dolores Rader, minister to families at the church, saw the need to engage the children’s parents during that same time. 

“We wanted to focus on real-life challenges and offer help and encouragement for parents,” she says.

South Main called the program Dishin’ with Dolores. Every week, Rader invites a guest speaker to talk about a different parenting issue. 

“We rotate through a list of topics like helping kids develop an authentic faith, building healthy habits, being safe and responsible with technology, and learning the keys to effective discipline,” Rader says. “One really helpful topic is advice on the best ways to navigate our public school system. I also like to invite high school seniors from our church to share about their experiences in our youth group and the impact their involvement had on their faith.”

About half of the guest speakers are church members; the rest are from the community. “One of our members is a therapist, so I can call her and ask for someone in her practice to come in and speak on a certain topic,” Rader says.

Sometimes the speaker has a prepared presentation. Other times, Rader does a question-and-answer session with them. 

“One time, I brought in three professionals and just asked them questions about how parents can set up their child for success in school,” she explains.

In January 2022, the church added a Sunday morning Dishin’ with Dolores that addresses a different topic than the Wednesday night gathering. 

“New attendees to the church are drawn to our group because of the community and friendships we’ve built,” she says. 

Rader posts a list of the upcoming topics so church members can invite friends. “It’s such an easy invitation to offer someone because we all need help with parenting,” says Rader. The church records the gatherings and makes them available on their website. 

“We want to be a support system for parents,” she says.