Will Children’s Ministry Bounce Back?

While the entire Church is trying to figure out how to bounce back from the last year, it’s Children Ministry, one of the most challenging roads ahead of them. The virtual ministry did not pan out for every church that tried it for kids, and at home, catechesis presented similar challenges. No one, in particular, is to blame, but it does reveal that children’s ministry needs to be different for the year ahead. Going back to the way things were are not wise because so much has changed in the last year.

Over the last year, other habits and priorities have emerged. If coming back to Mass is a challenge, we can only expect faith formation. However, this upcoming fall is an opportunity for those who oversee children’s ministry to try and do something completely different. It’s a season to look at what you were doing and answer the question:

Was what we were doing working?

If the answer is no, then don’t go back to it, instead:


The challenge that children’s ministry will face should concern everyone in youth ministry. If programming for your kids does not bounce back, you’ll see it in your youth ministry programs. Fewer kids coming up through faith formation means fewer teens participating in the future.

This reality does not mean that the youth minister should come in and take over; it’s a sign that collaboration is needed. Adults and teens involved in ministry towards the younger generation should have discussions around inviting people back and creating an irresistible experience where Church and formation become a part of their regular lives.


Maybe this is the opportunity to try small groups instead of classrooms. Maybe this is the season to invest in family catechesis. Maybe you’ve always wanted to launch a Youtube channel for kids to tune into on Sundays. No matter the idea, set up a BETA test is before you go all in.

BETA testing is trying something out in a controlled environment where you can evaluate and analyze the different elements; when it comes to any programming, it’s good to set a finite amount of time, where people can commit, and you are not wearing out the resources.

Anytime I’ve worked with a parish in launching small groups, we’ve started with 6-8 weeks of programming, taken a break to ask questions like:

  • What worked?
  • What was not clear?
  • What could we improve?

And after developing answers, tweaking, and going for another 6-8 weeks. If you want to learn more about BETA testing, subscribe to MYMU, where we can help you and other ministry leaders develop a BETA test plan. To learn more, click HERE.


Why does your ministry exist? We spend so much time on the WHAT and the HOW that we forget WHY we provide faith formation for kids and teens (Check out Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on the subject HERE). Your ministry has a specific purpose, and when you know it and focus on it, you’ll be able to make a better decision on HOW and WHAT. To help you get a sense of your WHY, reflect on these questions:

  • What would happen if my ministry ceased to exist?
  • How does the Church look different if my ministry were to succeed on all levels?
  • What problem is my ministry designed to solve?

The answers might be simple, so make sure you go deep into them. Get specific with your vision to have a clearer picture of what you are commissioned to do. The more you explore your WHY, the better you will become at recruiting a team and building momentum for your ministry.

Children’s ministry is not doomed but does have a hard road ahead. Now isn’t the time to panic or give up. We are in a season of innovation and creation. This is a time when lay ecclesial ministry professionals and clergy can get creative and have fun with it. If you need assistance, you can reach out to us at Marathon Youth Ministry, but please know we believe you have this, so go for it.

How are you envisioning children’s ministry being different this fall?

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