by Crys Gorman
Gallup Research shows us that in the 1950s, 49% of Americans went to church on a regular basis. That number remains relatively unchanged all the way until the 2000s, when it dropped to 36%. But suddenly, there’s a significant drop in the percentage of millennials who attend church; 25%. Unfortunately, this number only continues to decline.
We can continue to add new programs, change our service times, and work hard to find new ways to keep kids coming to church. But the truth is the core way we do church remains the same, and it doesn’t seem to be working.
What if we look for ways to reach out to kids when they won’t come into the building? It’s what we do in every other ministry in our church; if we want to minister to the homeless, we go and serve at a homeless shelter. If we want to reach lost tribes in Africa, we go on a mission trip to Africa. Likewise, if we want to reach our kids today, we must go to where they are. Today, that’s online. Kids spend an average of 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen. They spend 25–50 hours a year in church compared to 2,737 online. And for every year that the church does not engage their children digitally, this gap between kids and the church grows larger.
So what can you do right now to leverage technology so that what you teach in church is being brought into the home?
- Use text message programs so you can send group messages to your students during the week. Provide a short devotional or if you use puppets, have the puppets send a message!
- Send out a “secret password” on a Facebook or Instagram page. Kids who come to church that weekend and tell the password to a leader receive a prize.
- Apps such as the Bible App for Kids and LeadershipForKids.tv are free and great ways for kids to engage with Scripture at home.
Ultimately, this is why we created Incredible Islands. Incredible Islands is a phenomenal curriculum that provides lessons for your in-service time and seamlessly integrates those lessons into an interactive, online world that kids play at home. The online world as well as application activities help reinforce the Bible lessons you teach in church. It provides a safe messenger system, Gospel presentation, and over 100 fun games and activities. Reporting features will even show you which kids are logging in, for how long, and exactly what activities they are playing the most!
The Gospel will never change and the local church will always remain, but our methods may require adjusting to reach a new generation. Incredible Islands provides a solution for you to continue reaching the kids in your ministry even when they don’t walk into the building!
See how it works and view a sample lesson.
About the Author: Crys Gorman serves OneHope through the development of Incredible Islands. She serves alongside her husband Matt, children’s pastor at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX, where they are passionate about the local church and reaching the next generation of leaders.