Recommendations for Churches
Observations and recommendations from recent research
During the pandemic lockdowns, our research showed overwhelmingly that children’s workers and parents alike felt frustrated, exhausted and at times isolated. Many felt ill-equipped and at a loss to know how to minister amongst children and families through changing times.
In these post-lockdown times, things are still seeming quite unsettled. Here are some recommendations from recent research:
Church leaders could consider how they can listen to and learn from families, and then adapt the ethos of the church to better accommodate and partner with parents to support them in discipling their children’s faith. It seems that there is a need to be more affirming and supportive of parents in their primary role of discipling their children, intentionally and overtly conveying a sense of partnership and collaboration.
Evaluate the aims of various church activities, for example is the ultimate aim to boost Sunday attendance or to ensure children’s faith is nurtured and encouraged? It seems that families desire support with the latter but are less committed to regular church attendance - so it will be good to explore together new ways of focussing this support. Spending considerable portions of a church’s time and energy on Sunday services no longer seems to match the needs of families, with an emerging requirement for greater creativity about how to support family’s faith journeyings in a way which does not demand or revolve around regular Sunday attendance.
Consider the balance of time spent generating resources, activities and services versus more informal and relational support structures, which seem to be more beneficial. Within this, explore opportunities for intergenerational ministry because this seems to be greatly valued by many families.