After leading a breakout on the topic, I wanted to share some of the objectives that I think will help children’s ministries prepare for what ministry might look like in the year 2025. If you missed part 1, you can read it here.
These objectives are based on research dealing with the characteristics of Millennial parents and Gen Alpha children, those born 2010-2025. If you haven’t ever read some of the futurist articles on Gen Alpha, it is well worth your time.
One of the most certain predictions of the future is that there will be more technological change at an even faster pace. Think about this for a moment: the Apple iPhone didn’t even exist 11 years ago. And now, we’re on iPhone X whose FaceID can launch a billion functions with just a look from the user! Change is rapid!
By 2015, 86% of 18- to-29-year-olds owned a smart phone! If you’re wondering how important those devices are to millennials…80% of them sleep with their phone by the bed within reach. This is a phenomenon known as FOMO—fear of missing out.
In that same time range, we’ve seen the entire world we’ve seen the creation of an entirely virtual world through social media. 88% of millennials have a Facebook profile, and more than half report using the site multiple times per day.
We see companies now venturing into the world of Augmented Reality—the practice of superimposing digital images over a user’s view of the real world. At the car dealership, you can use the camera on your phone to see all the color and tire options for a vehicle. Soon, you’ll be able to project a phone dial on your hand and call your mom to say, “Happy Mother’s Day!”
Research has shown that millennials, and likely Gen-Alpha to an even greater extent, are early adopters of new technology. They like to have the latest and greatest. They don’t mind the rapid changes because it’s almost always been a part of their lives.
How does this relate to the children’s ministry? Here is the second objective:
An effective children’s ministry in the year 2025 will…
Find a Balance between Technology that Engages and Technology that Entertains
While the Church doesn’t need to be a rotary dial phone in a digital world, we are not called to compete or keep up with the technological changes of this world.
But our mission is too important to not search for every advantage technology can give us in reaching people with the Good News of Jesus and training them in how to share it with others.
This is where an effective children’s ministry will find a balance between using technology to entertain and using technology to engage.
If you were teaching kids about missions in Rwanda, you could tell them all about the lifestyle, the food, the missionary, or the church. I’m sure that kids would be engaged in such a discussion, but technology provides the opportunity to go a step further.
Imagine FaceTiming with a missionary family in Rwanda while they give a tour of their home, their church, and answer questions from the kids about the ministry they’re leading. This is what it means to use technology to engage and not just entertain.
Using technology to engage could also be providing video resources to help millennial parents and Gen-Alpha kids go deeper in their study of the Bible. The people over at The Bible Project have done a great job of this balance. Their videos are creative, but the real value is in the depth of teaching they provide.
No one knows what technological advances we will see by the 2025. (I’m certain that they will be mind-blowing) However, we do know that our mission will always be the same. Instead of trying to keep up with technology in order to be attractive or cool, begin thinking about you can leverage technology to tell more kids about Jesus and give them more resources to share that Good News with others!
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