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7 Current and Future Trends in Children’s Ministry

Blog 10.24fixedIt'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.

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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 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.

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 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.

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 community.

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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!

Posted at 08:15

5 Comments:

Dee Cobia said...
We are seeing an emphasis on missional living, doing things off-site vs on. There is more of an emphasis on kingdom living than focusing on personal salvation. Also seeing parents ask for low sugar, healthy snacks. More fruit and more whole grains. Less desert.
October 24, 2012 04:30
Kara Keung said...
We are planning for a Christmas celebration for our Sun School as like every year and this year as I am coordinator, I am promoting healthy snacks rather than all the potato chips, soda pops and candy. We are heading fo r sandwiches, mini cup cakes (no icing) like carrot, banana, vanilla, fruits and water, plain water. My desire is to also do things off-site rather than on church premises. People are so reluctant to go to church, so here is where we bring the church to them.
October 24, 2012 07:00
Great summary. We're not surprised to see safety at the top of the list. Many churches are implementing electronic check-in systems to specifically increase security measures and to clearly show parents they have a check-in/out solution in place so parents can feel comfortable bringing their children. KidCheck children's check-in provides that security, plus medical/allergy and also hits on other trends noted above. It provides an easy tool for parent communication via text messaging and email/mail capabilities; it incorporates the latest technology but is still intuitive and easy-to-use and it's affordable to help enhance check-in even with shrinking budgets.
October 25, 2012 09:27
Those of us working with children need to get interested in the current technological changes and learn about a few computer games so that we may remain relevant and helpful to the kids.
October 26, 2012 10:30
Thank you for including #3. Kids still want to come to church even if they no longer live with two parents. Single parents still need help guiding their children and teaching them about Christ. Thank you for stating the one size doesn't fit all. So true especially when you consider working with the child of divorce and single parents. Linda Ranson Jacobs DC4K Ambassador dc4k.org
October 31, 2012 01:37

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