We recently attended the Northwest Ministry Conference in Seattle with great general sessions and breakouts. I especially enjoyed the sessions with Carey Nieuwhof. In one session, he stated “you fuel what you fund.” He was focused on the importance of Next Gen ministry. I couldn’t agree more. There must be energizing fuel around the intentionality of the local church to bring more to ministries from birth—high school.
In recent years, the Next Gen focus has led to better curriculum products and churches looking for additional staff. My concern is that for churches to sustain growth in young families, much more needs to be considered. I often talk with churches who are looking for growth in their Next Gen and Children’s Ministries.
As a ministry coach/consultant, I have had the privilege of observing many amazing teams, facilities, programs, and great leaders giving their best to make Sunday a.m. experiences the best they can be. However, we also encounter the churches that struggle to find the needed resources to create excellence and growth in their engagement with families.
I believe funding and focus are both critical to fuel the Next Gen and Children’s Ministries forward. We regularly help churches identify these needs by providing an outside perspective through an evaluation with focus groups.
- Do you ever wonder what the guest with a family experiences on their first morning? Do you see the facility as they do? Do you know how your team interacts with them?
- Do you know how satisfied parents are with the kids’ or students’ program?
- Do you know why it’s hard to recruit volunteers to serve?
- Is the program dynamic with supportive technology?
- Are priorities focused on young families if significant dollars go to bigger and better tech for our big room presentations?
- Is compensation to Next Gen leaders commensurate with other exec level leaders in the church?
- Are resources available for conferences or coaching Next Gen or Children’s leaders?
Staffing and program for Next Gen ministries must elevate for the dynamic educational and cultural needs of today’s kids and students. These movements, if only incremental, can retard the church’s ability to make a difference to the generations that need to be reached. A strategy to assess the big picture effectiveness with a plan for improvement is crucial.
I love to read the contemporary church literature or methodology to connect with young people, but soon we will need better outcomes. Action required will include honest evaluations of our current approaches and courageous action by leadership teams to change and fund what is necessary to achieve our mission.