10 Ways Children's Ministries Can Be Ready for the Future

"We change every day.  We changed every day when he was here, and we’ve been changing every day since he’s not been here.  I don’t think the values should change.  But everything else can change.  Yes, there will be things where we say something and two years later we’ll feel totally different.  Actually, there may be things we say that we may feel totally different about in a week.  We’re okay with that.  Actually, we think it’s good that we have the courage to admit it." 
-Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

If your children's ministry is going to be ready for the future, it's vital that you have this same mindset.  I personally know ministries that were once thriving, but are now dead because they either weren't prepared or willing to change.

Here are 10 ways you can be prepared for the future.

Communicate with parents and volunteers via their smartphones.  The average person checks their smartphone 150 times a day.  Children's ministries that stay connected to parents and volunteers will do so through their smartphones.

Go small.  Small is the new big.  Children's ministries that are effective will grow big and small at the same time.  As they grow in size, they will find ways to keep people connected to small groups of people inside the larger ministry.  This doesn't mean churches should stay small numerically.  As long as there are still people to reach, churches should be growing.  But it does mean they should stay small culturally.

Less paper...more digital.  Paper is fading fast.  Since 2000, newspapers have lost $40 billion dollars in advertising.  Bookstores are becoming a thing of the past.  Mail delivery has dropped from 250 million pieces in 2006 to 50 million pieces in recent years.  Children's ministries must continue moving away from paper registrations, take home papers, flyers, etc.

Multi-site.  Multi-site is not a fad.  It's here to stay and will continue to expand rapidly.  More and more churches will continue to go multi-site and children's ministries must be ready to make the leap as well.

On-line services.   More and more churches will broadcast their services online.  Up to this point, you can count on one hand the number of children's ministries that also make their services available online.  The issue in the past has been children not being able to watch services at the same time as their parents due to computer limitations.  But with the tsunami of tablets, family members can watch multiple online services at the same time.  Children's ministries must step up and start making their services and classes available online.

Excellent customer service.  Customer service is becoming more and more important to families.  Businesses lost $83 billion dollars last yer due to poor costumer service.  70% of families say they return to a business based on how they are treated.  Children's ministries that reach families will excel at providing a great first-time guest experience.

Safety and security.  Safety and security will continue to be a top priority for parents.  Children's ministries must be prepared with top notch check-in/check-out systems, secure buildings and well-thought out safety plans.

Free wi-fi.  The demand for free wi-fi in public places will continue to grow.  Children's ministries must have free connectivity available for parents and volunteers.

Discipleship tools for parents.  The good news...the time parents are spending with their children is increasing.  Mothers are spending more time with their children now than mothers did in the 1960's.  And the time fathers are spending with their children has tripled.  This opens the door for children's ministries to provide parents with discipleship tools they can use during this time.  Much work has been done in this area, but much more needs to be done.  The key?  Creating something that parents will actually use to disciple their kids.

Urban children's ministry.  At the time of this writing, there are 7.25 billion people living on the planet.  3.9 billion of them live in urban areas.  But 2050, it is predicted that 6.4 billion people will live in urban areas.  To reach children, children's ministries must go where chidlren are...urban areas.

The future is fast approaching.  Are you ready?  What do you need to change or start doing?  Let's get busy.  Eternity is at stake for billions of children and families.