One of the workshops I attended at Children's Pastors Conference was Mary Manz Simon's "CPC Trendwatching: 2008." Here are some highlights according to my notes (and my thoughts, of course)...
* Environments are huge in children's ministries. (But I wonder... Are children's ministries making their ministry areas "new wineskins" but not using the "new wine" of untraditional discovery learning? Who are the ministries that are bringing both "new" things together?)
* Focus on Safety--at home and at church (That's a definite trend. And not one that's going away with our information-saturated culture that makes us more afraid by the day.)
* Luxe Parents--Manz Simon says that parents "feel like a good parent if they spend $." (No comment.)
* Parents are looking for advice/support/mentoring (I don't believe we in the church have yet figured out how to provide that in a non-programmatic way. Except, have you checked out our new ParentLink newsletter? Go to group.com/parentlink. Shameless plug, but it's good.)
* Enviromental Sensitivity--Gotta go green! (If only we could learn the secrets of the environmental movement and launch a generation of children who guide their parents to not only become more green, but to also become more godly!)
* Instant Access Generation--We've got to figure out how to help families be less wired and more connected. (Ok, here's where I think we have to move into the future and instead of railing against "what is," we have to figure out how to communicate in new ways, to access the reality of today's new style of family, and to help parents establish healthy boundaries. My boundaries: no texting during church, meals, or face-to-face conversations.)