Alarm clock. Smoke detector. Referee whistle.
Our lives are full of warning signs and usually they are hard to miss. That is not the case for slow steady church decline. Lifeway’s own Ed Stetzer estimates that 85% of American churches are “plateaued of declining.” (Comeback Churches, B&H Books, 2007).
What’s worse? Most of these churches are in denial.
As a kids ministry leader, you are likely to notice these changes first. As you work with the children, keep your eyes open for these warning signs. Some may have other explanations, but taken as a whole you have a strong case for a church heading in the wrong direction. Maybe God will wants you to raise the alarm?
1. Fewer kids in Sunday School ~ This can mean two things. Either you have fewer young families or parents don’t see the value of Bible teaching for kids. Either way it’s a big problem.
2. Under-crowded nursery ~ A sure sign of church growth is the need for more early childhood space. Growing pains are good.
3. More funerals than weddings ~ Are young families present in your congregation in sufficient numbers to replace the senior adults who are passing away?
4. Fewer workers in Vacation Bible School ~ Since VBS is the widest outreach in most churches, where will evangelism happen when this program is marginalized?
5. Less interest in reaching troubled youth ~ Does your church still have a passion to reach the “rough” kids that everyone else has given up on?
6. Contentment ~ When church leaders and members think they’ve arrived, trouble is not far behind. Have you become too comfortable to watch for what God is planning next?
7. Clutter ~ All those little stacks of papers and supplies are telling a story. Who doesn’t clean up their house when expecting new guests to arrive soon?