What does children’s ministry on Wednesday nights look like in your church in 2016? I would venture to guess that it looks quite different than ten or fifteen years ago. Perhaps you have even seen some dramatic shifts in the past three to five years. I know I have.
Wednesday’s look different in our culture, in general. Like it or not, these changes have direct impact on the programming that we offer. Here are some Wednesday night challenges I have encountered in our context.
- Wednesdays are not sacred in our culture. Sports, school programs, etc… all take place on Wednesdays. This past fall, I adamantly tried to convince our softball league to not have practices on Wednesday. It was a foreign concept. The majority of the people I discussed the issue with didn’t even realize church on Wednesday was a thing. I think we were literally the only family that struggled with a church conflict on Wednesdays. Should that be different? Maybe. But it’s not. And, quite honestly, it is unrealistic to expect our community to adapt to us.
- Large amounts of homework and school stress are the norm. Have you seen the work some elementary kids are bringing home? Every school is different and expectations vary, but the academic life of elementary students is without a doubt more strenuous than it was in the past.
- Some families want a night for family time. Families are busier than ever. They are tired. While we could argue over what they are prioritizing, that’s not our call to make. Between school, sports, lessons, social events, work responsibilities, etc… some families crave a night of “nothing”.
- There is much “competition” for attention. When I was a kid, my choices were things like softball, dance or an art class. Today my kids have a million activities that they could be involved in if they choose. The challenge is never finding something to participate in, but rather limiting how over-committed they become. And they are ages 10, 8, and 3!
So, does this mean that we throw in the towel on Wednesday night children’s ministry?
I don’t believe so because none of these challenges have to be deal-breakers. Instead, they should challenge us to think differently about Wednesday nights. In a future post I will discuss the opportunities that I believe still exist in Wednesday night programming for children’s ministry. Until then, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment about what other challenges you are experiencing concerning Wednesday nights.