I was consulting with a church a few months ago. It's a great church that reaches thousands of people each weekend with the Gospel.
Pre-COVID-19, they were ministering to over 600 children each weekend. The Sunday I was there, they had 100 kids.
This story could be told again thousands of times in churches across our nation.
COVID-19 has affected all of us in one way or another when it comes to attending church.
One thing that burdens me heavily right now is the thousands of kids who are no longer attending church on a consistent basis. As weeks turn into months and months turn into an entire year, I have been thinking of the spiritual ramifications.
Is this generation of children going to grow up without any spiritual foundation to build their lives upon? Yes, I know many churches are doing their best to keep kids engaged through online content, social media and other inventive ways. That is all well and good, but I personally believe it can't replace or have the effect that comes from personal relationships and caring leaders at church.
We know that discipleship happens through relationships. It happens not just by throwing content at children, but it also comes through being personally discipled by someone. And for kids, these relationships normally happen in person ... at church. Without this, I ponder what will happen to this generation of kids who are growing up without that close connection.
Yes. Parents are the primary influencers of kids. But they need tools and ideas on how to do this. Can we challenge parents to live this out through a Zoom call? Maybe, but I personally believe this needs to be done in person to be the most effective.
And it's not just the kids. Thousands of volunteers across the country have stepped back from serving. This has made things even more challenging.
Judges 2:10 haunts me. Here's what it says:
"That entire generation passed away, and after them grew up a generation who did not know the Lord or the deeds that He had done for Israel."
An entire generation was lost spiritually. Why? Because they didn't hear about God or know about the things He had done in the past.
Will this verse be true for the generation following us? Will they not know about God and His Word because it simply wasn't passed down to them?
We know now that 13% of Gen Z kids are atheists. This is more than double the amount of adults who claim to be atheists. As many kids don't come back to church, will this be their story as well when they grow up?
Yes, great steps are being taken to get vaccines out to people. Hopefully, we can see COVID-19 under more control in the upcoming months. But the tension is going to be getting the many families who have stopped attending to re-engage with in-person worship and discipleship.
We have challenging days ahead. We need wisdom and discernment as we help kids and families re-connect with their local church. If we want to reach the next generation, then this must be one of our top priorities.
It's your turn.
— What has been your experience through COVID-19?
— Are kids and families starting to come back to your church?
— What percentage of the kids and parents have not come back yet?
— What are you doing to re-engage kids and families?
For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.
Dale Hudson has been in children's ministry for over 30 years. He has helped build some of the largest and fastest growing children's ministries and churches in the nation. At Christ Fellowship in South Florida, he helped the church grow from 12,000 to over 28,000 people attending each weekend. In eight years there, he built a volunteer team of over 2,600 that ministered to thousands of kids each weekend.
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