A new report has revealed that many churches in the UK do not have a plan or strategy in place for reaching out to children and families.
The ‘Do we need a new plan for children’s ministry?' study has revealed that only two per cent of churches in the UK, Brazil, Canada and the US have a clear strategy for children’s and family ministry.
Dr. Sarah Holmes, lecturer at the Liverpool Hope University and co-author of the report, told Premier the results of the research are “alarming”.
“I think if we don't actually plan and be strategic, then we default to the bare minimum, which is what we're seeing. We're finding that congregations generally are not terribly well bought into the importance of sharing faith with the next generation and even often, the leadership team and are not terribly invested in that that side of the ministry.”
Written by academic researchers and ministry practitioners, the report has shown the pandemic has had a severe negative impact on children's faith formation.
Dr. Holmes continued: “Many people are reporting that children and families aren't necessarily returning to church following the pandemic. And as I say, this is right across all of the countries that we spoke to, we're seeing this reduced engagement of children and families, and obviously, for the future health of our churches. This is quite concerning. If we're prioritising adult ministry, which seems to be the case at the moment, fast Forward ten, 20 years’ time, ‘Who is going to be in our churches?’, we have very few children and young people and families in the now.”
The report also suggested the Church is often viewed as “a service provider rather than a partner” and wants to encourage a better dialogue between parents and the Church to ensure the nurturing of the children’s faith.
“We really want to be seeing churches working much more collaboratively, and much more in partnership with Christian parents to say let's work together to nurture the faith in your children, and to see rather than a transaction kind of a service mentality to see that kind of working together thing, so that we can be much more effective in reaching future generations with the Christian faith,” Dr Holmes concluded.
You can read the full report here.