I had the opportunity this week to teach a few breakout sessions at the Children’s Pastors Conference in Orlando, Fl. It was a great time to connect with other leaders and learn from their ministry experiences. And the bonus was that my wife got to spend part of the week with me in sunny Orlando! Can’t beat that!
One of the breakout sessions focused on the future of Children’s Ministry, specifically for the year 2025. It was a lot of fun researching Millennial parents and Generation Alpha, those born 2010-2025. These two groups will make up the children and families who we minister to in 2025, and there is surprisingly a lot we can already know or predict about their future.
In the breakout, I gave 5 objectives for effective Children’s Ministry in 2025. These are things that we need to focus on and dream about now, so that we will be adequately prepared for what’s ahead. I’m going to take a few posts to share the objectives and the research behind each one. Here’s the first objective:
An effective children’s ministry in the year 2025 will…
Focus on Marriage and Parenting Enrichment
The effective children’s ministry of 2025 needs to focus on marriage and parenting enrichment simply because millennial parents place a high value on marriage and childrearing.
As children, 40% of millennials grew up in a home with one parent. This has naturally led millennial parents to swing the pendulum back and commit to raising children in a 2-parent home. Their Boomer parents valued and found identity in their workplace success, but millennials are more likely to say being a parent is important to their identity.
But when asked what makes a good parent, only 26% of Dads and Moms said that being a committed Christian was an important influence on parenting. Even though Millennial parents highly value their spouse and children, they are not as likely as previous generations to look to the church for advice in this area.
This is a key area that the Children’s and Family Ministries of the future must be intent on changing. Millennial parents are very accustomed to having strong support systems from their parents and their network of peers. Marriage and especially parenting brings a whole new set of challenges and levels of self-sacrifice which millennials may or may not be prepared to face. As we look ahead, the Church needs to be a bridge that connects millennials parents back to their identity in Christ and how the Gospel meets us in our need at every phase of life.
Effective Children’s Ministries need to see these trends and put together a plan for reaching new parents with resources, training, and encouragement for a new phase of life. We also need to leverage the millennial parents’ desire to be involved in their child’s life to make parent-led discipleship, church attendance, and Bible reading (most important) a priority.
For more research on trends that are relevant to Children’s Ministry, check out “Nothing Less” by Jana Macgruder