Where Have All The _______ Gone?
If you’re over the age of 40, perhaps the first thing that pops into your head when you see this is “Cowboys”. Where have all the cowboys gone? You wouldn’t be alone. The song by the same name was released in 1997 by Paula Cole and went to number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 (seventh in Canada, given the exchange rate) and was nominated for three Grammy Awards. Although the song laments unmet expectations in a relationship, the wider question resonates broadly with anyone who laments the lack of something expected. In the church, for example, we often wonder, “Where have all the leaders gone?” Or missionaries? Or pastoral candidates? Or, as I heard recently, where have all the church planters gone?
The solution isn’t simple because the problem is complex and contains multiple variables. However, unlike Paula who simply despaired over the situation, we are not left completely without recourse. One of the contributing factors to this reality is the struggle to develop the next generation. Barna statistics abound, but anyway that you slice it, either quantitatively or antidotally, we are seeing fewer and fewer young people enter the vocational ministry, and that includes church planting. A key takeaway from this should be that NextGen ministry is critically important. To this end, I want to share a couple of resources that have been developed to assist you in this work.
Children’s Ministry. Over the last couple of years, Alliance Kids has developed two excellent curriculum options that can serve churches of any size.
The ONE Page is a simple one-page (two-sided) document that provides a guide to lead a children’s church or mid-week children’s discipleship class. At $100 per year, this is an affordable option for any budget. Additionally, a grant to cover the first year’s subscription is available from the District Advance Fund. Several RMD churches have begun using this resource and the feedback has been great.
Discovery Land is a more robust curriculum that utilizes a three-year teaching cycle and has age-specific content for children ages 6 months thru 6th grade. This resource is also very affordable at only $800 per year, and a grant of $200 to assist with the first year’s subscription is also available from the District Advance Fund. Again, several RMD churches are using this option, not only on Sundays but also for mid-week discipling.
To receive either of these grants, simply email a copy of your registration to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Ministry. The RMD Youth Team has also been working hard to encourage, connect, and equip student ministry workers across the District.
Youth Leader Weekend w/ Ken Castor. This spring, April 19-21, we are excited to have Ken Castor join us at the Youth Leader Weekend at YAA. This event is for anyone – leader, staff, team, etc., who works in student ministries. If you’re not familiar with Ken, you need to take a minute to visit the event page. Ken is a phenomenal student ministry practitioner and teacher, and your team will be invaluably strengthened over these days.
The Third Thursday Podcast is created by the RMD for the RMD and will not only be an encouragement to your youth workers but will also provide excellent and relevant content to assist in ministry.
Finally, the RMD Youth webpage is a collection of resources for youth leaders that can be found right on the homepage of the RMD website.
In addition to these resources, please remember that you are also welcome (and encouraged) to reach out any time if you want to talk about anything related to the NextGen ministry. This is critical work. Part of the answer to the question, where have all the church planters gone, is – they’re in your church. Maybe crawling around the nursery, or in braces, or just entering driver’s ed, but they’re there. Waiting, albeit unwittingly, to be developed. And God has entrusted them to us. Let’s take this stewardship seriously so that He will entrust more of them to our care. May God find us worthy workmen in this regard.
Together with you,
email@example.com or (406) 647-2764