I just came across this post over at LifeChurch. In case you haven’t seen it, I’ve embedded the video below.
This has been something I’ve been thinking about lately. At Gateway we’re developing our “Online” strategy. Although people will be able to get weekend messages, I don’t think the team is heading in the direction of making the online experience a “virtual” church service with worship, message and special message from the web pastor. I think it’s going to be a unique experience. Pretty cool stuff.
At Gateway, our long term plan is that thousands, even tens of thousands, would be connected through our online experience. These would all be people who might not set foot in one of our campuses. This causes me to ask the question, “what about the kids?”
If you haven’t yet, watch the video below.
So, I think the video brings up a lot of really good points. Can kids who never/rarely set foot in a physical church still grow in their faith? Yeah! It’s certainly possible. In fact, it could even be better (Big emphasis on the word could).
What is it we Children’s Pastors want more than anything (other than a raise)? 🙂 We want parents to actively engage in the lives of their children. I don’t think that kids just sitting in the room overhearing the online service is how it’s done. However, I do thing there is a real opportunity here. If parents want to be a part of an online service, then they’re actively engaging on the website. When they click on “kids,” then they can possibly be equipped to engage. Perhaps there is a video that plays intended for kids and parents to watch together that engages them in an activity or elicits response from both. Perhaps there is a pdf to print out that goes on the dinner table for questions around the table… or one that goes in the car for questions while driving.
So, I think that there is a great opportunity through this whole online venture that takes advantage of the most significant influence in the lives of the kids, their moms and dads.
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I wonder how many parents would stick around for a 15-20 minute children’s/parents online program after experiencing a 60 minute online adult experience? I think there are so many great things that could be done, but at the same time it’s shaky, fragile ground for #kidmin in the online world.
I look forward to imagining what could be…
.-= jonathan´s last blog ..Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-08 =-.
If it works then it’s because the parents already have the tools to get their kids involved and grow through an grown up experience – they know how to talk about it during the week, they know how to show their kids that they value serving the church by demonstrating it etc. Exactly the same things that it takes for a physical church going family bring their kids up to follow Jesus.
I like the idea of preteens having friends over and and watching/discussing it together and I know a lot of kids who would do that. I also know a lot of kids who need to be lead.
I personally value kids building relationships in a church community with both other kids and other safe adults that follow Jesus. Is it possible to build the depth of relationships online as it is in a physical church community?
Jonathan, I wasn’t imagining necessarily a 15-20 minute program that they watch with their kids. I guess it could be though. I imagined a 5 minute deal that sets the stage for what is to happen throughout the week (table discussions, car conversations). Perhaps there is programing for the kids to engage with on their own (games to play and videos to watch), but the true learning will hopefully be done throughout the week as parents engages with their kids through discussion prompted by questions provided.
I don’t know… just thinking out loud.
Thanks for sharing! I hadn’t seen that yet. That family travels all over Europe establishing relationships with other churches there for LifeChurch.tv. Their mobile lifestyle really necessitates this choice for their family. I would think many of our Church Online attenders would have other options as well. I think effectiveness would vary dramatically based on the age and developmental level of your kids. My 12yo loves going to church with us and thinks our pastor is hilarious and he gets what he’s talking about. But I wouldn’t consider it church for my 8yo and 4yo.
In the same way that some parents are able to educate their children at home, spiritual development can occur at home well too. But I would think the same amount (or even more) intentionality and planning should go into it.
If I home schooled, I wouldn’t just let my kids watch me balance my checkbook and discuss our finances and count that as math. I would carefully select curriculum and teach it on a daily basis. The same should go with spiritual development. I support families choosing Church Online for their families, but I would be just as choosy with that as I hope parents are with where they attend a physical church.