Today, I am excited to add a new feature to my blog called “5 Questions.” My heart is to help equip and encourage you by introducing you to the guys and gals that influence and encourage me. To help you get to know them better, I will be asking them 5 questions about ministry and the Christian life.
Meet Jeffrey Reed
1. Has kids’ ministry changed over last ten years?
“From what I can tell in working with churches all over the country, the pendulum has had two big swings. One probably started in the early 2000’s. Creativity entered Kids’ Ministry in a big way. Now, the norm is to use large-group worship. Most churches have creative or production teams, especially in larger churches. In the 90’s, media was rarely used as a regular resource for churches. Now well-done media is expected.
The other swing has been back to good Theology. It’s just starting to pick up in churches. Now that churches have learned to use media, they are realizing that it should be a supplement to the content that they use…and that the content should be sound, doctrinally speaking. It’s great when Kids’ Ministry is creative. It’s better when Kids’ Ministry uses good theology.”
2. What steps can a church take to reach young families?
But as a start, every leader of every classroom and group should be prepped and trained to talk to parents when they pick their kids up. The entire church staff should be focused on teaching parents to lead their kids. It’s also important that our goal is not simply to get them to like our church. If we get them to love God, they will like church. There are churches full of families who are dedicated to attending, but don’t know Jesus. We need churches who have families that are walking by faith…and leaders and staffs in those churches who model that.”
3. What are some ways churches accidentally scare away families?
“This might sound antithetical, but probably by not offering anything different than a local community center. Young families, especially millennials, (I know this, because my pastor is one) are looking for substance. YMCA’s offer mom’s morning out. The school system’s are teaching kids how to develop character. 4-H has a summer camp. Why do I need church?
Ultimately, the gospel is what transforms and draws families in. The church should probably do these things in some form, but we often stop short and hold off on the serious stuff in the hope that those families come back. Maybe we wait until Christmas Eve or Easter to share the message of salvation. Many churches are stuck in the seeker mode of the 90’s. Everyone is seeking, even believers. Give everyone what they are looking for, Jesus. Weak or occasional theology scares people.”
4. What Lifeway Kids products are you most excited about?
“That’s easy. Two things are coming that will have a huge impact.
The first is our new conference. For the first time, LifeWay will have a family ministry conference called ETCH. etchconference.com The video on the front page says it all. Some of the best communicators and voices in family ministry will be there. It will be a blast. It will be fun. It will equip leaders to reach the next generation.
The second is the re-launch of Bible Studies for Life curriculum. It’s scope and sequence follows one of the most vetted discipleship paths in the history of Kids’ Ministry. Over 15,000 churches currently use this curriculum.”
5. What books are you currently reading?
“The political climate has moved me to read several books regarding U.S. history. ‘”Forged in Faith“‘, by Rod Gragg, takes a deeper look into the believers who were involved in the early revolution.
I’m not saying I support the philosophy in the book, but it is intriguing. ‘”Why They Stay“‘ by Parr and Crites looks at something that could very well shake up how we do church for families. It’s hard to argue with facts…and they give some compelling ones about why kids may leave the church when they get older…and it’s not because we didn’t have a light show during worship.”