Top 10 Changes to Kidmin Post-COVID-19
Published: August 4, 2021
COVID-19 has changed the world we live in. By now, you might be tired of hearing the term “new normal.” What does it really mean? How much have life and ministry forever changed due to COVID-19?
We had some of the same questions, and we wanted to know: What are the top 10 changes to children’s ministry after COVID-19? As we move away from quarantine and masks, what’s going to be different about ministry?
So we polled various children’s ministers to find out which changes you’re seeing. Then we spent some time considering these changes—are they good or bad? Are they permanent? How do we best adjust to these changes?
Read on to find out the top 10 changes we discovered, and see our tips on how you can transform challenges you face into ministry opportunities!
Change #1: Volunteers Stepped Down Due to COVID-19
Long-term church shut-downs during COVID-19 gave on-the-fence volunteers a way out. Many of them took that out, and when churches re-opened, ministries found themselves with a lot fewer volunteers.
The fact is, getting enough volunteers was never easy! We’ve been doing research for decades, and never once in all those years did we hear people complaining that they had too many volunteers.
And in those decades of research, we’ve found some tried-and-true secrets that will help your ministry bounce back and find a fresh pool of volunteers. Curious? Read more here!
Because this has been an ongoing issue, we’ve also tried to provide resources that make volunteering easier for your busy leaders. Dig In curriculum was specifically created with flexibility to adapt to your volunteers’ gifts and interests. If Susie wants a craft every week, she can have one! If James hates crafts, no problem! It’s easy to mix-and-match to get curriculum every volunteer will love.
Simply Loved is another great resource to make things easy for volunteers. You’ll need one main leader—the one in the front teaching. Everyone else is simply there to facilitate relationship and discussion. No prep and no theology degree required.
We don’t think this trend is temporary because it’s nothing new! But we do think there are ways your church can be more accessible for would-be volunteers.
Change #2: Lower Attendance After COVID-19
When in-person church wasn’t an option, families got out of their routines. And some haven’t re-established them. We think this trend may even out, but it will take some time. And how you handle your ministry in the limbo will make all the difference.
When you look at Jesus’ ministry, he was more concerned about quality than quantity. After he fed a huge crowd of 5,000 people, he slipped away. Then, when the crowd found him again, he talked about the serious commitment it is to follow him. In response, many walked away. Jesus’ core group of disciples stuck around, and Jesus even gave them the chance to leave, too. (See John 6.)
So don’t be discouraged if your numbers have gone from 5,000 to 12. Just focus on those 12. Follow Jesus’ example of building relationships and raising up committed followers of Jesus.
And who knows? If you make your ministry engaging with authentic relationships, word will spread and your numbers just might grow again.
Change #3: Increased Safety and Security Measures Because of COVID-19
We hope this change is here for the long-haul! Some churches may have dusted off their safety and security policies for the first time in a decade. COVID-19 provided an opportunity to review and reset safety and security measures to keep kids safe.
The fact is, our efforts as a society to reduce transmission of COVID-19 also reduced transmission of the flu and the common cold. That doesn’t mean we have to wear masks forever, but it does mean that some of the things we learned through the pandemic will help us keep kids safe and healthy even after it’s over.
And if your policies still need a fresh look, check out the Safe and Secure Church Kit!
Change #4: It’s Harder to Share Supplies Without Risk of Spreading COVID-19
One of the commonly increased safety measures has been trying to minimize kids touching the same items to avoid spreading COVID-19. That might be okay in “big church,” but in children’s ministry, we like to be hands-on!
We’ve done a lot of the planning for you, so check out our tips to keep your lessons engaging and experiential—without sharing supplies.
And hopefully, within a year or two, sharing supplies should be easier—with some improved cleaning protocols still in place.
Change #5: Kids Are More Eager to Come to Church After COVID-19 Quarantine
We were so encouraged to see this change ranked as number five in our poll! Kids spent a long time cooped up at home, bored, under COVID-19 quarantine restrictions. Now that they can get out again, they want to!
Use this change to your advantage. Appeal to the kids to come back to church—so that they can influence their parents.
And when they do come, make sure it’s worth their while. The last thing they want is to be bored again. Keep your lessons active and engaging—but still meaningful—so kids never lose that joy of coming to church.
Change #6: Attendance Fluctuates More
Before COVID-19, you were already competing with sports practices, vacations, and birthday parties. Very few kids came weekly.
But now, attendance seems even more sporadic. Make it easy for families to engage with your children’s ministry in a variety of ways—whether that’s online, in person, through social media, or with an emailed devotional for families to do at home.
One bright spot: Some churches reported that while their numbers are off, they are seeing more young families coming to church than before. That’s great news—and hopefully paves the way for a bright future for the church.
But in a world of so much busyness and distraction, families will always need to make choices about how they spend their time. So rather than competing, join their team! Tune in to their rhythms and offer some flexible and helpful options. Making your ministry accessible through a variety of channels is a great way to keep your ministry strong!
Change #7: Kids Are More Engaged Than Before COVID-19
This is another change we were encouraged to see, and we hope sticks around!
We’ve heard people saying that their kids got tired of screens when COVID-19 made everything shift to virtual meetings. Remember the old advice that if you catch your child smoking, you should make them smoke the whole pack so they get sick of cigarettes? That’s kind of what happened with our screen-obsessed kids.
Not that they’re going to completely put down all their devices…but kids are excited to be back in person, seeing their friends and beloved leaders. And they’re hungering for authentic, in-person relationship. So when you offer that, they’re engaged.
Change #8: Kids Have More Stress and Anxiety as a Result of COVID-19
Kids went through a major collective trauma during COVID-19. It’s natural and expected that their stress levels would be higher as a result.
Realistically, COVID-19 will probably have a lot of long-term mental-health effects on the next generation. This is a major, worldwide event that happened right in the thick of kids’ formative years.
But with some advice from a mental health professional, you can help kids process their feelings and come out on the other side. Read more here.
Change #9: Lower Budgets
Lower attendance means lower budgets, especially with the financial hardships individuals saw during COVID-19.
That can be hard on your ministry, but we hope that in time, our economy will bounce back—and with it, your budget.
In the meantime, here’s a cost savings tip: Check out Simply Loved Curriculum. It’s supply light, so you can keep your supply budget low and spend wisely!
Change #10: Churches Are Less Able to Do Special Events After COVID-19
Between lower budgets and lower attendance, it can be hard to pull off special events. But that may not be a horrible change.
Like with your safety and security policies, consider this an opportunity to re-evaluate. So many churches do annual events because “we’ve always done them.” Now is the time to look at your “old” church calendar and ask yourself some key questions about each item on it:
- What was the purpose of this event?
- How well did it accomplish that purpose?
- Are there better ways we could accomplish the same purpose?
“Sacred cows” in churches can be hard to remove. COVID-19 gave churches an easy “reset” button to take a hard look at those traditions!
And if you can limit your special events to only those that were really meaningful and useful, you’ll have more time to focus on what matters: helping kids build a friendship with Jesus.
In the end, COVID-19 will never really be “over.” Some of its impacts will linger for decades to come. But not all of those changes were bad! We’ve seen God bring some great things out of this difficult season—and we believe that the best is yet to come!
Want more leader resources? Check out these posts!
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