I must admit. Three years ago, family ministry didn’t matter to me. We had a "successful" kids ministry. In my former ministry, a couple hundred kids and students would show up every week. Hey if you had tons of kids show up, wasn’t that enough?
But my mind is changing on that. Thanks to my work with a good friend and incredible leader, Reggie Joiner.
I just spent a couple more days with Reggie. If you don’t know Reggie, you should get to know him. He’s one of the most creative people and deepest strategic thinkers I’ve ever met.
These days, Reggie leads the Rethink Group (which he also founded). Rethink not only publishes first rate curriculum for children and student ministry in churches, but is responsible for all things Orange, including the Orange leaders community, the Orange Tour and the Orange Conference next April. Prior to working full time with Rethink, Reggie co-founded North Point Community Church and developed its innovative and powerfully effective approach to family ministry.
What drives Reggie is a deep and abiding concern for families. In Canada, only 11% of people attend church on a regular basis, but even among those families who do attend church in Canada and the US, a stunning 80% of kids who grew up in the church leave the church when they go to college, not to return for years…or in some cases, ever. Reggie has an incredible desire to change that.
The idea behind the Orange movement is that church leaders and parents can partner together around a master plan to cultivate faith and character in our children. The church can’t do it alone, and parents can’t do it alone. God designed us to do it together.
I find it incredibly refreshing to know that Reggie and his team work day and night on better ways to equip and help church leaders and parents raise the next generation for God. I’m so thankful that Connexus will be an orange church from the ground up, even though we are still working on exactly what that means as the orange movements get shaped in these months and years ahead. All I can say is I want to be counted on to be one of those who helps reverse that walk-away statistic.
I want my kids to be fully alive in God when they head to college. I want it for more than my kids or your kids…I want it for the community, the region, the continent, the planet. If life is truly found in God, why would we wish anything but that on the next generation?
Reggie and I spent last night talking about how to raise awareness about the silent crisis happening in churches with the next generation — that so few, even among the churched, are being influenced for God.
The first step to raising awareness is to acknowledge the problem.
1. Do you see it?
2. Do you care?
3. Are you prepared to do anything about it?
It bothers me that again and again, the hardest ministry to staff in churches across North America (including Connexus) is kids’ ministry. Maybe that’s a factor in the stat. Maybe we can change that!