by Mark Entzminger/ April 3, 2015
Barna Research recently published a new set of statistics about the unchurched in our country. Did you know that since 1990 the percentage of unchurched adults has increased from 30 percent to 43 percent of the population? Approximately 156 million people in America say they do not attend church, including more than 42 million children and teenagers.
While we might not be directly responsible for reaching and discipling adults as kids’ ministry leaders, these statistics should still shake us. Earlier this week, I shared some commentary from George P. Wood on the role families play in cultivating a desire in kids to know God more [LINK TO: Children's ministry isn't just about kids ... It's about families]. If for no other reason, these statistics should wake us up to the reality that there are millions of kids out there who don’t live in an environment where knowing God is valued.
It can be challenging to figure out ways to reach unchurched families in our communities. If parents won’t bring their kids to outreach events or scheduled services, how can we reach them?
Today, I want to provide three practical ways you as a kids’ ministry leader can reach unchurched people in your community.
Three Ways Kids Ministry Leaders Can Reach Unchurched Families
1. Show them you care. How much of our conversation and planning is about meeting the needs of the church compared with spending time and energy working to meet the needs of the families in the community? Ask the Holy Spirit to both show you the needs in the homes within your community and to show you a vision for how you may help meet those needs. When the church is family and community minded you’ll be amazed at how many doors will open that allow for relationship and sharing the gospel.
2. Celebrate their child. As you and other leaders get to know each and every child, it will be easy to take every positive movement for granted. However, every parent wants to hear heartfelt and insightful truths about their child. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you how He sees each child and then share those uplifting and loving thoughts with parents on a regular basis. If you don’t have the time to do that on a weekly basis because of the church schedule, make a routine of picking up a phone to leave a message or sending a note through the mail.
3. Become their friends. I think we would be amazed at how many church leaders have not built relationships with people who live right next to them. We can be very friendly with people who are already part of the church, but to understand how to reach unchurched families we may need to foster friendships with those we think will never attend our churches.
Reaching unchurched families is one of our generation’s biggest opportunities. We can help to change the culture one life at a time by building relationships and meeting people where they are.
Have you had success reaching an unchurched family? We’d love to hear your story.