The top-four trends that could impact your ministry — if you let them.
Trend-spotting is best done by experts. It takes a savvy person to distinguish the difference between a passing fad that’ll waste your time and a bigger trend that could rattle the very foundations of your ministry. That’s why we asked the experts — leading children’s ministers, consultants, authors, resource creators, advisors, and professors — to spot the macrotrends that are poised to affect your ministry.
Just as fads and trends differ, not all trends are created equal. Macrotrends are emerging from the culture of children and require serious consideration and change in course.
So hold on tight as we unveil the top-four trends.
Family Ministry is a strategy that directly impacts a child’s spiritual growth by reaching the child’s entire family. It’s a response to God’s directive for parents to train their children spiritually (Deuteronomy 6:7).
Family Ministry acknowledges that our time with kids is limited at church — one hour a week compared to dozens of hours at home. By reaching the entire family, children’s ministers maximize opportunities parents have throughout the week to help their children develop a thriving friendship with Jesus.
Family Ministry degree programs in Christian colleges and seminaries have increased, and the position of Family Minister is on the upswing on church staffs. Increasing numbers of churches are strategically hiring a Family Ministry staff person and reorganizing their entire birth-through-high-school ministry under the umbrella of Family Ministry. Each age-specific ministry area plans, coordinates, schedules, communicates, and prays so everything they do supports and equips families.
Family Ministry strategies span the spectrum from take-home papers to intergenerational programs — with everything from family events, parent training, resource libraries, and family counseling in between. Effective Family Ministry churches have multiple communication points for families: the weekly take-home paper; downloadable podcasts of large group teaching; CDs to purchase or take for free that families can listen to in the car; and weekly emails to parents with tips, insights, and faith-nurturing ideas.
Family Ministry churches invest in resources that equip families with training and tools. Many churches have an online resource library similar to Hill Country Bible Church’s website in Austin, Texas. Parents can browse recommended resources for them and their children that are available for purchase in the church bookstore. There’s also a burgeoning offering in family-focused curriculum. Curriculum that targest families includes Group’s FaithWeaver NOW family of resources that maximizes multigenerational learning (every person studying the same Scripture in age-graded classes).
“Family Ministry is a way to bring the generations together. We are recognizing that by dividing our ministries exclusively by ages and stages (children, youth, young adult, middle adult, and older adults), we contribute to the fragmentation of families. Family Ministry is not just ministry to families and ministry for families, but also ministry with and in families. We want to encourage more opportunities for our families to experience life in Christ together.”
Strategic Impact: Retool your ministry to focus on reaching families through everything you do. Create a strategic plan from birth through high school that integrates the family at each stage. Focus less on segregating families and more on bringing families together for Christian education — whether it’s in the same room or everyone in separate rooms studying the same Bible passage.