What’s been happening with children’s ministry in Canada during COVID-19? To answer this question, Scripture Union created a survey to take the pulse of children’s ministry in the second quarter of 2021 and released the findings in the Canadian Children’s Ministry Report (CCMR) earlier this month.
Technically and empirically, it was a comprehensive survey. The research sample size surpassed the minimum number of observations to test and yield statistically valid results. It polled all major denominations with participation from churches in every province. Thirty qualitative survey questions provided in-depth insights that correlated with and illustrated the quantitative findings.
The survey discovered what ministry was like for children’s workers during COVID-19, how they were doing personally, how their ministries were managing, what was working, and what wasn’t. The researchers also wanted to know how COVID-19 affected volunteers, how children were coping, how partnerships with parents and families were going, how children’s workers were feeling about the future, what their upcoming plans and strategies were, and what was informing their decision-making.
Emotionally, be prepared for a small dose of disillusionment. Children’s ministry has taken a hit during COVID-19. However, it’s not a knockout blow. Positive insights, ministry gains, creative approaches, and new prospects mentioned in the CCMR would not have occurred if not for COVID-19.
You’ll find the report a treasure trove of findings. The graphs and charts speak volumes, and the observations are grist for discussion and debate. Arguably, the report analysis and recommendations were brief and could be enriched with more details. Nevertheless, the CCMR is a significant source of information for anyone identifying emerging ministry trends, strategizing or planning future ministry.
What were the findings in the report? A paragraph can’t begin to answer this question, nor do I want to detract from the report by summarizing the key points. The CCMR predictably confirmed that children’s ministry during COVID-19 has been challenging. In various degrees, children, parents and ministry workers (pastors, teachers, and volunteers) have struggled to adapt. Surprisingly, the report revealed that the frustrations and difficulties presently experienced in children’s ministry aren’t a short-term problem. The pandemic has triggered a philosophical and methodological shift in the way some workers view children’s ministry. While no one knows the future of children’s ministry, changing paradigms may be the new normal.
Children’s ministry has its back against the wall, so the report is a goldmine for the Canadian church. By extension, it’s also valuable for children’s ministry in other nations. Sarah Holmes, a lecturer in early childhood studies at Liverpool Hope University, had similar findings to the CCMR with her research into the impact of COVID-19 with 100 churches in the UK. Together, the two reports identify children’s ministry priorities raised by COVID-19, and this should help inform the development of international, national, denominational, agency, and local church strategies suitable for these times.
To access and read the CCMR with all the key findings, please CLICK ON THIS LINK.
© Scripture Union, 2021