Wow! It's taken me awhile to get caught up (I'm really not yet) from the Large Church Conversation. We had a great time exploring the top-four trends in children's ministry (according to an article I wrote in CMMag last year called "Trend Quakes").
For safety, it didn't surprise me that all together the groups listed 117 things that they're doing to keep kids safe in their ministries. We talked about "due diligence" as opposed to providing for every single possible danger. "Due diligence" is that we've done everything reasonable to do. We all agreed that background checks need to be the norm instead of the exception.
A surprising thing: Many of these churches have armed security onsite. But, here's the shocker for me, one of the churches actually has an armed sniper in the balcony to protect the pastor who's had threats on his life.
In the area of Wired Ministry, it was surprising to hear how many of these high-tech churches are concerned about not letting technology replace relationship and relevance for kids. They see the use of technology as part of their ministry, not all of it.
In the area of Family Ministry, not surprising, they're all trying to figure out how to impact today's families. We had a great discussion about learning from the "go green" movement. Matt McKee suggested that we do "value adds" and make spiritual nurture look natural for parents. There are four key areas to do that: getting faith conversation into the home, family events, everyone on the same Scripture each Sunday, and maximizing milestones. (We'll actually be doing an article on this in the Sept/Oct 08 issue.)
In Experience Required, some of our folks got scolded for starting a fire on the LaQuinta's property. Long story. But it's part of the creative experience we do to make the point.
Volunteers are a challenge, as they are for churches of all sizes. In the end, we all need to cry out to God. Jesus said "the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers"! There's no substitute for prayer. And we all need to be cautious of running around looking for the next program/solution/strategy apart from the power of God!
Wow! We had a great time! Looking forward to our next conversation with denominational children's ministry leaders this fall!