If you are leading in preschool, children’s, student or college ministry long enough, you start asking yourself questions. You wonder if what you do really matters. You ponder what the next generation really brings to the table. When you don’t get the support you need from the church, you wonder if you should keep investing in the next generation. Is the church investing resources into next-generation ministry really making a difference? These are hard questions, and many times we feel guilty for asking them.
I have been at this long enough to ask all those questions, ,after many hours of struggle, processing and prayer, I have landed on this one truth: The church needs thriving next-generation ministry more than ever. You show me a thriving church, and I will show you a healthy and growing family ministry that is investing in the lives of the next generation. The health of a church has a major link to the health of their ministry to the next generation. The tension increases in that the opposite is also true—the health of next-generation ministries will be linked to the health of the church as a whole. There is no doubt this is a tension to manage and not a problem to solve. The church needs thriving next-generation ministries because of a few critical factors …
- Innovation // In your family ministry areas, you have freedom to experiment and innovate because the heart of your audience is flexible! You lead an innovation lab for your church if you serve in a next-generation ministry! You get to figure out what really works in reaching this generation and help them follow Jesus.
- Intentional Discipleship // Every next-generation ministry (preschool, children, youth, college) is trying to do one thing … intentionally make disciples. Your goal is to see the next generation follow Jesus, and you and your volunteers team are dedicating their lives to mentor young, dedicated followers of Jesus.
- Engaged Volunteers // Next-generation ministry provides a platform for adults, kids and teens to serve and use their gifts in ways no other ministry area can. Mission work, worship leading, small group leadership, administrative work, communicating and tech experience all get fleshed out and enhanced in our next-generation ministries. We are the training ground for the church as a whole, and we can launch young leaders faster than any area of the church.
- Spiritual Momentum // When the next generation pursues Jesus, they will push the church as a whole to chase after Jesus. There is a momentum that comes when life change is happening with kids, teens and college students that has the potential to push the entire church to be more like Jesus.
In your years leading your next-generation ministry, what are some reasons you have found your church really does need a thriving ministry to kids, teens and college students?