Jan 8, 2013

Where Children's Ministry is Headed in the Next 10 Years

David Houle is a futurist and author of the “The Shift Age."  In a recent CNN interview, he talked about the future of education Take note of what he says.  The implications will not only affect how kids learn at school, but at church as well.

"In the next decade, there will be more transformation at all levels of education than in any 10-, 20-, or perhaps 50-year period in history.  Generational forces at play will accelerate these changes.

The aging baby boomers - who I call the “bridge generation,” as they have bridged education from the middle of the 20th century to now - are retiring in ever increasing numbers.  They have held on to the legacy thinking about education, remembering how they were taught.  Their retirement opens up the discussion about transformation.

At the same time, we have the rising digital natives as the students of tomorrow.  This generation, born since 1997, is the first that was likely to grow up with a computer in the house, high-speed Internet, parents with cell phones and often a touch screen app phone as their first phone.

They are the first generation of the 21th century with no memory of the 20th.  They are the first generation born into the information-overloaded world; for them, that’s simply the way it is.  The digital natives are different than prior generations and need new models for education.

Let’s take a quick look for all levels of education to see what some major transformations will be:

Preschool
A child born in 2009 is one of the younger digital natives.  In upper-middle class households, they are the first children for whom all content can be found on screens.  They are using touch screen and other interactive computing devices starting as early as 2, and therefore walk into the first day of preschool or nursery school with a level of digital skills.

This will spark greater use of digital devices and interactive learning at this first level of education.  Classrooms will increasingly have interactive touch screen devices.

K-12 education
The elevation and integration of digital interactivity is soaring in K-12 education.  School districts are setting up cloud computing to provide always-available information for always-connected education communities.

Schools that used to make students turn off cellular devices during the school day are allowing them to remain on and become an integral part of the classroom education.  If all of the world’s knowledge and information are just a few keystrokes away, why make the classroom the only unconnected place students experience?

Self-directed learning - the interaction of the student with learning courses on a computer - will accelerate education and provide more students with the opportunity to learn at a challenging pace.

Connectivity will bring the world ever more into the classroom and will allow for the grammar school and the high school to be more involved in the local community and the larger global community.

The year 2013 will bring about the first steps in a transformation that, by 2020, will leave education at all levels profoundly different from it is today."

Here's my thoughts...

The church normally lags behind changes in education.  It's time we flip that and get on the edge of these transformations.

Are we trying to use the 20th century, lecture-style model of learning to communicate to a new generation of kids and then wondering why they are not engaging with us?  "Ssshhhhh....sit still and listen to me download information" has to change to sounds of kids talking, sharing, and discovering together with a trusted guide.

How can we leverage technology to teach God's Word to kids who are digital natives?

It's time we shift from inactive environments to interactive environments. 

What thoughts or ideas do you have?
How do you think churches can make the shift to this new model?
What are some things you are doing to effectively connect with today's kids?

Share your thoughts with us below.

9 comments:

It's an interesting idea. The children's pastors of the future will need a different skill set. If they want to write their own curriculum, they will need programming and design skills or a team that does. They will also have to be a lot more creative because a lecture is a lot easier to facilitate than interactive guided discussions.

The biggest problem I see are the small churches who have bivocational or part-time children's pastors. How will they be able to provide this kind of learning without substantial budgets or know-how?

Those are some great questions David and something we've got to figure out. Love to hear any ideas you have.

We are preparing to write curriculum that will follow this pattern in the second part of this year.

Awesomeness. Interactive environments, My Daughter and I are putting together a music worship video called What Child Is This? This is a powerful and popular Christmas carol if you think about it in 2013 this song was written in 1865, there has been a lot of Recordings on it. I think I have heard them all and yeah it could use some Medea technology, of the story of Christ. We should remember what audience we are

reaching for Christ. I serve in kindergarten GK I love it children are very intelligent I think the Holy Spirit will surprise you 99% of the time. There’s nothing wrong with pizza parties and video-game tournaments. But they’re no substitute for reaching young people with the relevant and passionate message of Jesus Christ.

I have been doing a lot of research on this area and David H is spot on as far as I can tell. Been thinking along these lines myself.

I come at this from the eyes of child of divorce. So many of these kids feel left out of the church family anyway. For some the rejection of the church hurts almost as much as the rejection of a parent. Now add in the fact that many of these kids are "Screen Junkies" and the church for sure will lose them.

Churches are going to have to keep up with the education system if they want to attract the younger generation. We can learn from other groups. That doesn't mean that we are worldly but it means that churches are wise if they take cues from groups that have already developed their tools. Isn't it worth brining a child into the Kingdom?

Linda Ranson Jacobs
DC4K Ambassador and Creator
919-653-2179

Thanks for sharing Linda. There is definitely a stirring going on. It's going to be exciting to see where things go in the next few years.

We have a DC4K program here at our church and it makes a big impact. Thanks for your ministry. Blessings.

Awesomeness. Interactive environments, My Daughter and I are putting together a music worship video called What Child Is This? This is a powerful and popular Christmas carol if you think about it in 2013 this song was written in 1865, there has been a lot of Recordings on it. I think I have heard them all and yeah it could use some Medea technology, of the story of Christ. We should remember what audience we are

reaching for Christ. I serve in kindergarten GK I love it children are very intelligent I think the Holy Spirit will surprise you 99% of the time. There’s nothing wrong with pizza parties and video-game tournaments. But they’re no substitute for reaching young people with the relevant and passionate message of Jesus Christ.

Sorry you all for not adding my name above this is my first time using this system any Comments is appreciated. Ernest Bradford, CF

Bron Yocum

I'd be interested in hearing some ideas of what this might look like. We've used the rotation model including a computer rotation, and try to be interactive even if it isn't digital; I'd love to hear what others are doing to involve children in education.

Yes it sounds very interesting and when technology is advancing with such great speed why not take advantage of it.When everything is going online why not in church.A curriculum should be designed where in online media should be used to interact with the students.Children's pastors should come up with Online tutorials and all.

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