The Talking Toddlers research has revealed that 74% of all parents with children under the age of five have attended a church-run activity in the past year (research from HOPE, the Evangelical Alliance The Church of England and ComRes).
However, in a recent report to General Synod (2019), it was noted that 65% of Church of England churches have less than five children or young people under the age of 16 attending on a Sunday. This is mirrored in other historical church denominations.
Mission amongst children means creatively sharing the story of Jesus in ways that make sense to them.
While Sunday church attendance among children is at a historical low, there are ever increasing ways to connect with children in mid-week settings.
Over the past decade Messy Church has proved to be a brilliant way of sharing Jesus. It is a missional and ecumenical success story, with hundreds of examples of Messy Church blessing children and their families across England. For example, North Abingdon Messy Church describes themselves as “a denominational Mess! It is jointly run by teams from Peachcroft Christian Centre (an ecumenical church itself, with four sponsoring denominations, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and URC) and All Saints Methodist Church.” Read details of recent research on Messy Church from the Church Army, in Playfully Serious.
The Bible Reading Fellowship, one of our Bodies in Association, has a wide variety of resources for churches wanting to share Jesus with children and their families. Check out Holy Habits and Parenting for Faith.
The Bible Society, another Body in Association, has a great storytelling resource which churches can use together, called Open the Book.
Churches in Scarborough have devised an innovative project reaching out to local schools and sharing the good news with hundreds of children. Lift the Lid brings together the resources they’ve developed, including Christmas and Easter Experiences. These Experiences provide interactive and dramatised presentations for primary school pupils, offering a unique way to learn about these important Christian celebrations. They’re a great way to welcome your local schools to your church building, and have proved to be very popular with both staff and pupils.