If you’ve been in ministry for any length of time (especially recently), you’ve probably heard the term “NextGen” thrown around a lot. It’s pretty trendy these days. But it’s one of those rare trends that actually lives up to its hype. Buzzword or not, it’s something you should be exploring further —especially if it’s not something your church is currently pursuing.
What is NextGen?
Before talking too much about the why of NextGen Ministry, it’s important to understand what it is. Quite simply, “NextGen” is a shortened version of “Next Generation,” which in most circles is described as young people from cradle to college. It’s inclusive of every person who falls into that demographic. Most likely your church has a few different staff members or volunteers who are over these different age groups, as you should. “NextGen” does not in any way refer to a singular leader or ministry, but an age group of young people, who are literally the next, or upcoming, generation.
Beyond understanding what it means, the question remains: Why is NextGen Ministry important? More specifically, why should your church be pursuing this ministry model?
NextGen Ministry is future-minded.
When you take an approach to ministry that considers all age groups together at once, you’re always thinking about what’s next. You’re preparing babies to be toddlers and eighth-graders to be freshmen and college seniors to graduate, and everything in between —rather than a singular focus, without a clear view of what’s coming up ahead. Think about it: Your road trip is going to be pretty messy if you don’t have an end goal planned out. Ministry to young people is the same. Young people at every age will benefit from your consideration of their future with respect to where they’re coming from.
NextGen Ministry is collaborative.
When ministry leaders and volunteers are working together to prepare the next generation for their next step, there is no choice but to collaborate. This collaboration does require intentionality on your part, yes. But naturally, it breeds better communication and understanding, which prevents a silo approach to work and ministry. Everyone benefits from this. There’s less isolation and loneliness, leading to decreased burn out and overall ministry frustration when there’s collaboration.
NextGen Ministry is unifying.
When your ministry teams are collaborating with intentionality, this kind of thinking inevitably spreads to the families in your church, uniting everyone so they can arrive at the same page at their respective times. Nothing brings people together towards one vision more than a strong plan communicated and executed well. That kind of thinking is infectious.
As popular as NextGen Ministry is right now, it’s also something that many churches seem hesitant to embrace. Don’t be afraid! The families in your church need you to step up and provide them and their kids with a cohesive, intentional strategy for loving and teaching and walking together. And if that isn’t enough of a motivation? Done well, this strategy actually makes ministry easier, not more difficult as some may think. Because NextGen Ministry encourages transparency and connection across multiple ministry areas, it seamlessly provides opportunities to share each another’s burdens and workloads. It’s a win-win approach to ministry t