Jody Brolsma, executive editor for Group’s vacation Bible school, shares 7 current and future trends in children’s ministry.
“We are a culture that values the safety of our kids,” said Brolsma. “If parents come in and perceive that this is not a safe place for their children, they will not bring them.” Parents are looking for check-in/out systems and for background checks to be made. When planning events and lessons, children’s ministries must also keep in mind the 8 percent of kids who have allergies.
2. Shifting Volunteer Base
“It’s not the stay-at-home mom who’s the volunteer anymore, because so many families are dual-income or working different shifts,” said Brolsma. Instead of parents being the volunteers, we see youth and empty nesters. This contrast between the ages can be a challenge when it comes time for training. Youth prefer training by technology, while older adults tend to prefer a more one-on-one setting.
3. Communication With Families
“Kids may come to church different weeks with different parents,” said Brolsma. The good news is that parents still want you to provide them with tools to help guide their children spiritually. However, they want these tools to be simple to use. When giving things like handouts to parents, keep in mind the two Q’s: quick but quality. Make it short and meaningful.
“Technology is going to be the expectation. More and more churches are incorporating technology. You can’t run from it,” said Brolsma. Kids learn by doing; this can be seen whenever they pick up a new piece of tech. They start pushing buttons until they figure it out. With the digital age, kids also expect options. Along with technology, this will direct the future of curriculum.
5. Shrinking Budgets
“Churches are having to pay for a lot more…they are getting very creative on how they are spending,” said Brolsma. With background checks, allergy-free snacks, and technology, churches and their children’s ministries can sometimes be on a shoestring budget. More and more churches are teaming up to help get a bigger bang for their buck.
6. Special Needs
“Special needs kids are here to stay. They are a part of our ministry,” said Brolsma. She points out that churches can gain a lot from looking at what is happening in the world of public education. Schools are dealing with many of the same trends as we are in children’s ministry, and we can take inspiration from how they are adapting to those changes, especially in the area of special needs.
“One size doesn’t fit all. Churches are modifying curriculum to fit their needs,” said Brolsma. Churches are looking for easily customizable curricula that can fit the needs of their church and community.
What children’s ministry trends are you seeing? What will children’s church look like in 10 years? How can children’s leaders better prepare for the needs of kids in a world where more and more people aren’t coming to a standard church?
Let us know what you think in the comments below!