A local United Methodist Church held its last service this past Sunday. The article that the local paper published the day before shared some of the things that caused this church to close and the future of its membership. You can read that article here (for as long as it is available). In this article I found several things that we can learn and apply in our ministries today. I will cover them over the next few days.
The first item is dear to my heart, and if you’re reading this, then probably yours as well.
“Velez [lead pastor] has been at Lohr’s for eight years, during which time the children’s program and choir have been eliminated and membership has dipped to several dozen, while the cost of maintaining the facility has increased.”
Children’s Ministry is vital to the life of a church
I do not know anyone who attends this church, or anything about it except for what the article states. A church that eliminates children’s programs is a church destined to die. Children bring life into a church and gives older members a way to pass their faith on to the next generation. You don’t end children’s ministry overnight, it is only after a gradual decline. Sadly, I believe that the decline occurs when children are not important, or ministries for children are led the same way they had been for several years before and the programs are not relevant to children today.
I have seen churches struggling to keep their doors open and one thing they had in common was an absence of children and young families. The problem is that it feeds off of itself. In today’s culture, young families are often looking for large programs for their children to be a part of. They feel that if their children are a part of a small church/ministry, that their child is missing out on something. Small ministries can also be discouraging to lead
All things do not last forever, but if you moved to a town, would you be willing to serve in a church that had little or no children’s ministry? If you have a young children, would you stay if your children were the only ones (if you were not on staff)? Someone needs to lay the foundation, and it takes sacrifice. The average church has less than 100 in attendance on a Sunday morning which would lead me to believe that most churches have small children’s ministries. These small churches/ministries are important. Don’t think about size, think about the impact you can have on people as God uses you in a special way.
So the first observation I made…. children’s ministry is important!
See my next observation tomorrow….