Jay Hostetler, August 10, 2015
Much is happening in the world of NextGen ministries in today’s church landscape. I have been privileged to consult with churches that are making great gains in establishing values for focusing on effective ministry to the youngest of our church family.
Movement has included choosing curriculums that will provide solid transformation for students from preschool through high school. There have also been attempts to include parents in the spiritual formation process. Due to the schedules of busy parents, this is having mixed results.
Milestones in student’s lives have become celebrated creating great teaching opportunities and attention is being given to transitions from ministries, i.e. kidmin to students, students to young adult, etc. This can insure the best practices are used to keep kids in the faith.
So far, so good! My concerns are rising in the area of how ministries in the NextGen sphere are being led. Key players are usually children’s ministry leaders and student ministry leaders.
My apprehensions are related to who becomes the point person for leading the ministry. In my coaching practice, I have observed that the point person who has a kidmin pedigree may have strong team building skills and organizational competencies. Those leaders with a student ministry background may have strong teaching gifts, discipleship strengths, and often, event- planning acumen.
I understand that every ministry is unique and senior leadership want to choose the best leader to guide NextGen ministry. Whoever is chosen to lead, it is my hope that a previous age level bias on the part of a leader won’t compromise future direction. Moving to NextGen language and leadership has huge potential to strengthen both kid’s ministries and student ministries. Leadership matters!
Before long term leadership decisions are made concerning “NextGen” ministry, both kid’s ministry and student ministry should be evaluated. The collaborative focus of the NextGen movement is extremely favorable but the danger is in giving emphasis at one age level and diminishing the momentum of the other age level.
Just a few things to be considered:
- Does the present Kidmin or Student ministry leader have time allowance to handle both areas, i.e. are they teaching every week in either area?
- Are there additional key team members (paid or volunteer) in each area, providing support?
- Do they understand the age groups and weekly/yearly program of both?
As always, clarity is needed. Timing is important. Dialogs should be robust and decisions should focus on the two age level thrusts combing to make ministry for infants—college intentional and transformational for all.
Our learnings from real-time NextGen discussions with churches of various sizes have led us to understand the importance of evaluating the decision to place an umbrella over both areas and maintain effective leadership for all.
Are you considering a NextGen leader? Have you evaluated your present ministries?