We don’t often think about our rearview mirrors. We use them often, because it’s important to glance backwards as we drive forward, but the backward view is supposed to be a fleeting one, not our focus. Imagine for a moment how hazardous it would be to try to drive your car across town in reverse using only your rearview mirrors to see where you were going. You couldn’t go far, and you shouldn’t go fast! Navigating backwards over the long haul wouldn’t be smart or safe.
Sadly, I think a lot of kidmin leaders have been doing something similar over the last three years. Too many of us have been trying to drive our ministries forward while looking backwards.
If we are honest, we’d have to admit that we have idealized the pre-covid past, thinking, ‘if only things could go back to how they used to be it would all be ok.’
I no longer believe that to be true. Our culture has changed. Fast.
The secular worldview that is pushed on our kids has grown increasingly louder and become more powerful than ever.
As we face the future our ministries will have to become more and more Culturally Aware to stay relevant to the next generation.
New Cultural Concerns
We know that this is the most connected generation in all of history through technology, but statistics tell us it is simultaneously the loneliest and most isolated of all time in terms of real relationships. It is a generation steeped in anxiety and confused about identity.
Our Kids ministries have to address these two mammoth cultural concerns to reach kids in our increasingly post-Christian context:
- We have to meet their big cultural need for belonging.
- We have to answer their big cultural questions around identity.
Kids are longing for belonging and searching for identity. The frightening thing isn’t that they desire to discover these things, but that they will surely find them somewhere; somewhere increasingly outside of the church.
We need to make sure they find them in the Church and in Christ.
Flip the Script
We, the Lifeway Kids team, have written a new book to help NextGen ministry leaders understand and reach the next generation. Flip the Script is a research and ministry strategy book that investigates the unique needs of Gen Z and Generation Alpha.
Studies show that in each subsequent generation church attendance and the number of people who identify as Christian has declined steadily decade over decade. And the number of young people who walk away from their faith has increased at an alarming rate.
The trend was not favorable to the church before the pandemic. We can’t just go back to our old ways and expect a different outcome. We need to reassess our strategies and consider flipping our scripts to reach the next generation.
The church has to become a place where kids find real connection and true belonging.
Every kid needs to find a friend at church, and every child in your church needs a champion in your church; a consistent, committed, connected adult leader who knows their name and their needs, and their situations. Someone who misses them when they are away and celebrates them when they come back.
Real ministry requires real relationships.
Identity in Christ
It’s time to change the conversation. In many contexts, the church is answering questions that kids aren’t asking and kids are asking questions that the church isn’t answering.
Kids know who the world wants them to be and become, we need to open our Bibles and show them who God says they are.
We have identified 12 simple biblical identity truths that every kid needs to know before they leave your ministry. The 12 Truths are unpacked in chapter 4 of the Flip the Script book, and they comprise the study plan of a brand new NextGen curriculum that’s coming soon from Lifeway Kids and Lifeway Students.
This week we’re unveiling a new resource for Preschool, Kids and Students. A resource that we have crafted specifically for Gen Z and Generation Alpha, based on the research unpacked in Flip the Script.
A New Solution
This isn’t just another curriculum; it’s a whole new ministry solution that’s flexible, faithful, and fun.
You need something FLEXIBLE, so we made it digital and modular; it’s meant to be modified, so it will save you hours of work on lesson preparation every week.
You need something FAITHFUL, so we packed it with trustworthy teaching that’s built on the Bible and focused on Jesus. We will celebrate and elevate God’s Word and His Son in every session and share the gospel in context as we study.
Kids need something FUN, so we’ve designed an experience that’s less like Sunday school and more like a day at VBS or camp. It’s active and interactive, it uses games and media and laughter! This isn’t a sit still and be quiet resource.
A Ministry Satisfier
We created this new resource with the help of some incredible friends from across the country, tapping into some of the most brilliant minds in kidmin, who minister in some of the most challenging places.
In August we beta tested four weeks of content at 37 churches in 21 states, including places like San Diego, Seattle, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio and more. In every setting the leaders and kids absolutely loved it, and we think you will too.
We need to help the next generation find a new identity, their TRUE IDENTITY in Christ.
That’s why we wrote Flip the Script.
That’s why we’ve created this new resource.
We are excited to introduce you to the newest offering from your friends at Lifeway Kids that’s releasing this summer for a September 2023 start date.
We call it Hyfi!
A new easy-to-facilitate digital resource that focuses on biblical belonging, identify in Christ, flexibility, faithfulness, and fun giving you a new way to show Jesus to a generation that is far from Him.
You can find out more about Hyfi, watch a powerful promotional video, and preview free sample sessions right now at myhyfi.com.
Chuck Peters is Director of Lifeway Kids. Before his role at Lifeway, Chuck had a prolific career in television and video production. He is a 3-time Emmy Award Winning producer, director, writer and on-screen talent. A graduate of Columbia Bible College, Chuck, and his wife, Cris, have served in Student and Children’s Ministry for many years.