5. Special Needs: Special Needs issues are playing a larger role in Kids Ministry than ever before. More and more kids are being diagnosed, and parents are demanding us to provide for their children. If we don’t, we will lose these families from our church bodies! Our choice is simple, will we minister or will we not?
6. Ethnic Diversity: Kids today are not at all concerned with the color or ethnicity of their friends. Interracial dating and marriage among Gen Xers is not an issue (in most situations). Over the last 30 years, marriages between blacks and whites have increased 400% and has increased by 1000% between whites and Asians. Unfortunately, our churches (for the most part) continue to remain racially and ethnically divided. I am aware of cultural practices that may move folks to different choices for style and practice, but I believe we will see less and less division as the current generation matures and starts to take leadership roles in the church. Our Kids Ministries must be places of acceptance and unconditional love. “Jesus loves the little children…” do we?
7. Economy: The economy is forcing change and restructuring that no one could have anticipated. As family incomes shrink, so does their tithe and ability to afford extracurricular activities. As a result of “seeker sensitive” messages, many have never heard nor understand the biblical discipline of tithing. As Baby Boomers with deep pockets and little debt die out of our congregations, churches will be forced to reconsider what and how they do Kids Ministry.
If I’m not careful I can become discouraged. These influencers can be overwhelming. On the other hand, I find comfort and confidence in knowing that God is in control and ultimately His plan will succeed. He is never taken by surprise. None of these suggested influencers have “snuck up on God.” My job is to take this information, these (and other) influencers, and plan and prepare accordingly.
Our work (with the help of the Holy Spirit) is to create ministries that share with kids the love and provision God has given them through His Son, Jesus Christ and to provide opportunities for those kids to grow in their relationship with Him. Does this mean that Kids Ministry tomorrow will look just like Kids Ministry today? I seriously doubt it. Does it mean I need to “throw out the baby with the bathwater?” DEFINITELY NOT! But it might mean that I have to be willing to change – change the way I do some things, change my attitude, change my focus, change my habits, or even overlook my preferences for the bigger picture. Change can be difficult, but it will be worth it!