Keeping kids engaged is crucial for churches to maintain growth. However, many kids opt not to attend if their parents give them the option.
While some just enjoy sleeping in on Sunday morning, others just don’t like the approach churches take to keep their attention.
Cute and trendy might seem like the best way to keep kids coming back, but it actually turns kids away from church.
It’s Too Parental
Many parents take the approach of trying to be more like their kids. They get into the latest trends just so they have something in common. While that’s great, kids honestly just want their parents to be parents. When the church takes the same approach, kids suddenly see the church as an older parent trying way too hard to be hip. Do kids even say “hip” anymore?
If church seems more like a parent, kids would rather just ask any faith-related questions to their parents versus going to Sunday school.
Churches Don’t Get The Trends
The way churches try to pander to millennials is an obvious example of how churches don’t get the trends. It’s this desperate attempt to be trendy that turns kids away from church. From the awkward use of emojis in scripture to a choir filled with 60 and 70-somethings trying to rap about current culture, churches try to be trendy but fail miserably.
Kids aren’t so much engaged as they are horrified. Instead of trying to be cute and trendy, it’s better for churches to just be where kids are – online. Having a website that’s kid-friendly and using social media is much more engaging.
Kids Want To Learn
It’s a common misconception that kids need to be entertained in church. This isn’t true. Yes, they’re probably not going to enjoy sitting for a few hours on a hard pew while a pastor talks in monotones. However, kids go to church to learn. It’s the education that’s entertaining.
When a pastor gets a little more energetic with their sermons or a service adds some more upbeat music, kids pay more attention. It doesn’t take emojis or pyrotechnics to get their attention. This is also where youth groups are important to help kids interact and explore their faith with people their own age.
Trying Too Hard Never Works
There’s trying hard and then there’s trying way too hard. The latter never works out well. It’s hard to take a church seriously when they’re trying so hard to engage you that they forget about what’s most important. The focus is placed too much on what the church thinks the kids might want versus taking a moment to find out what they want.
Talk to the kids and see what they like and don’t like. Kids stop attending when there’s too much focus put on trends.
It’s Just Awkward For Everyone
While you might like it, it’s true. Cute and trendy is awkward not just for kids, but for everyone else. This is why the hipster church trend isn’t working out so well. These trendy churches focus on gimmicks, but forget what church should be about. There’s no education or guidance. For instance, instead of uploading sermons to their website, they might do movie spoofs that just barely tie in some spiritual lesson.
Kids Need Guidance Not A Trendy Friend
Kids have friends. Church isn’t about being their friend. Church should be a place where kids are comfortable asking questions and getting guidance, especially when they’re going through a difficult time. They should see their church as a safe place filled with authority figures they can trust.
For instance, they might not talk to a friend about being bullied or thinking about trying drugs. Instead, they might just fall to peer pressure. When their church works to guide them versus befriend them, they’re more comfortable going to church leaders or a youth pastor to talk about what’s wrong in their lives and see how God can guide them.
Kids Would Rather Have Community
Cute and trendy turns kids away from church because it doesn’t fill them with a sense of community. It actually comes off as more of a corny ad versus a place to worship. Believe it or not, kids are much more interested in becoming a part of a community. They want to get involved, but they don’t want to deal with a bunch of adults acting like awkward kids.
It’s more important for churches to talk about faith on a level kids can understand versus trying to turn the entire church into the latest trend.
The best way for a church to be trendy is by creating an engaging church website and being active on social media. Kids will love this much more.