6. Grandparents are the new parents.
“In 2010, 4.9 million American children lived in grandparent-headed households.” This is an increase of 26 percent versus a 4 percent increase for children living in all other type households.
Increasingly, these grandparent-led households also include one or more adult children who are parents of the grandchildren. And 40 percent of children were living in a home headed by a grandmother only.
This increasing family-type challenges the traditional church idea of what it means to be a family and provides opportunity for churches to meet the unique needs of grandparent-led households. That these households tend to be non-white and economically stressed provides additional challenges for church ministry.
Each one of these trends challenges the traditional church’s idea of its community, its membership, its inclusivity, and its understanding of gender and race issues. Small churches will face unique challenges but also unique opportunities in addressing these trends.
However, if denominations, churches, and church networks continue to ignore these society-shaping developments, we will miss the great opportunities for growth, outreach, and church revitalization in the 21st century.