We have some wonderful news at Restoration! No, it is actually great news! No, it’s fantastic news!
Restoration just hired Angela Rotello to be our NextGen Director. The church is very excited about Angela joining our staff and becoming part of the Restoration family and I’d like to answer a few questions you might have. First, who is this incredible person? Angela comes to us from our sending church Christ Church Plano and her first Sunday with Restoration will be January 23. We will have opportunities for you to get to know her soon. What I can tell you right now is that she LOVES the Lord and LOVES encouraging the “next generation” to develop in the faith.
I want to spend a little time explaining what a NextGen director is and what Angela will do. It might be shocking to you but there is actually no specific reference to kids or youth ministry in the Bible. Nor is there any mention of ministry to singles, divorced, or other particular demographic groups. The children’s ministry concept was actually developed in the mid-19th century which took the form of what we know as “Sunday School.” It was not until the 1940s where ministries started to become specific in creating “micro-ministries” such as children’s and youth ministry.
In light of children and youth ministries being relatively new in the scope of church history, “starting a child off in the way they should go” (Prov. 22:6) is still a biblical instruction. So what are we asking of our NextGen Director? Angela will oversee the spiritual direction of, you guessed it, the next generation: ages from 5-to teens. This will, of course, be a massive job for one individual, but since we are all a part of the body of Christ, she will develop a team of volunteers to help her shape these young people.
Now, with all the synergy that this ministry is creating, I must admit we are taking a step of faith as a church. However, we must never lose sight of the fact while this step is also forward movement in the advancement of the kingdom of God. You might not know this, but a third of our congregation fits into this demographic which means there is a lot of need among children and excitement among parents. Although this will be a big-budget increase for our congregation, it will not compare to the enormous impact on the kids, our next generation.
We all know this is important but I want to share a recent study by Barna Research Group that gives us valuable insight into families’ church attendance patterns and their attitude toward the church in general. The study found that roughly seven out of ten Americans adults (71%) had a period of time during their childhood when they regularly attended a Christian church. And the majority of those who attended church as a youngster still attend regularly today (61%). In comparison, a large majority of those who were not church-goers as children are still absent from churches today (78%). So, to summarize the article, adults who attend church as children still show a lifelong effect on them and their church attendance.
The next generation is vital for the life of the Church today and tomorrow. And if you are a parent or a member of the body of Christ here at Restoration, what you do and how you support the younger generation will have a lifelong effect on them. Let’s rally around this new expansion of our ministry at Restoration and support Angela as we welcome her as our NextGen Director later this month.