Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ditch all kids ministry after creche?

In a trends-to-watch post, Trevin Wax makes this very interesting observation about the future of congregational ministry.
Evangelicals are already divided on the issue of ministry philosophy. I suspect these lines will become more defined in the next decade. The attractional model will lead many churches to adopt incredibly entertaining children’s church programs, youth group experiences, etc. The attempt is to hold on to an evangelical culture that is increasingly bored with church. Mega-churches will continue to compete with one another for a decreasing number of “regular church-goers.” Other churches will react to the attractional model by upholding family-centered churches and dismissing event-based evangelism.  
I remember Mum and Dad keeping us in church during the service while most of the other kids trooped out for Sunday School.  (As a concession, we were allowed to draw or read during the sermon.)  It's a model I generally prefer but what so often tends to be the case is that a 'family service' is designed along attractional lines with a "fun" kids church to keep all the kids out of mischief during the service.  However what then tends to happen is that the teenagers have been conditioned to be out of church during the sermon and so they have to have something special just for them and on it goes until people rejoin the main service when they're ninety.

I'm all for creche, if my infant daughter is screaming one of us scoops her up and takes her out.  But the moment you think we should be teaching these little tackers is the moment they should be back with the rest of the congregation.  However in our modern world of broken families, family-discipline can be very lax so maybe the cost of having everyone in the same room is a changed service dynamic.