Although it is Josh’s first year at Crossroads, he has spent over ten years involved in full-time ministry work. His robust experience provides a rich perspective on the ways the ministry experience may vary from generation to generation. Josh was able to nail down a couple of tips for navigating kids ministry among the new wave of Gen Z’ers.
1. Consistency is key
During the podcast, Josh touched on the notion that one of the biggest challenges in kids’ ministry is staying in sync. Especially at large, multisite churches, it can be increasingly difficult to all stay on the same back from week-to-week. However, Josh has found that consistency is the key to building and facilitating a trusting relationship with the children, volunteers, and ultimately, Jesus Christ.
Josh stated that one way he strives for consistency with his role at Crossroads is by sticking to one “playbook”, or curriculum, that all of the volunteers and teachers are bought in on. This helps establish a shared goal and keeps everything moving in the same direction.
Another way to improve consistency within children's’ ministry is encouraging volunteers to serve more frequently.
“If you serve every other week or if you could serve every week, the amount of information that you're going to gather from the kids about who they are, about what they're passionate about, that's going to stick a lot faster and your influence on the class is going to be incredibly different than if you're just there once a month.”
Not only does this fill in some potentially open volunteer spots, but getting the volunteers interacting with the same group of kids on a more regular basis helps foster abetter connection with the kids, which then improves the learning environment.
2. Use technology as a tool, not a crutch.
One of the largest take aways from Josh’s interview was the way in which Gen Z interacts with technology in the classroom. It is no secret that technology is here to stay. However, its relevance in society today has forced us to enter into conversation about how best to harness its power and potential.
For example, Josh discussed the importance of “using technology without only utilizing technology.” It should be implemented in a way that amplifies the classroom experience, while simultaneously blending into the background. It should not present itself as a barrier or the sole component of the learning process.
“[Technology] will support anything that we want it to support. And when we use it well, when we use it right, it models where the future's going but then how do we also keep the content, the discussion, our curriculum organic in a way that is not, say this, say this, say this, and don't say anything else.”
Video content and other technologies are beneficial curriculum aids but do not let it become so manufactured as to forget the importance of face-to-face conversation and organic discussion. In a world where Gen Z has constantly been inundated with these new technologies, be careful not to short them of the candidness accompanied by personal interaction. A balanced blend of technology and authenticity in the classroom may be the silver bullet to gaining insight into the mindset of Generation Z.