It's been an exciting week
at Group headquarters. We are wrapping up the Future of the Church
Summit (see what everyone had to say on Twitter). It's been an amazing few days,
filled with hard issues and great discussion.
I really enjoyed hearing what Jody Brolsma had
to say. You can tell she has a heart for kids, which is good seeing
as she's a major part of every vacation Bible school program Group
puts out. She presented seven ongoing and future trends that she
can see in the area of children's ministry, and I thought you would
enjoy hearing them as well.
1. Safety. "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
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.
4. Technology. "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
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
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
7. Flexibility. "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
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