14 November 2006

Children want 24/7 church

An online survey conducted by MethodistChildren has found that children prefer to participate in the fun, fellowship and community offered by churches during the week and in summer holidays than on Sundays.

Steve Pearce, Children's Secretary, says; ''Midweek groups are almost 100% bigger than Sunday groups. Many churches are doing great work on Sundays, but it's clear from our results that children want church to be more than just that - they want to go to activities during the week. Which is great, because 43% of the churches that work with children already provide mid-week activities, with an average of 38 children attending each group.'

This is particularly the case for the 9-13's age group and MethodistChildren hope to see the work of the Church serving children's needs throughout the week. Steve says; 'Sundays are special, but we're called to be Christians every day of the week and this survey shows that children and young people have a 24/7 spirituality that needs to be fed all the time. We are already doing this in a variety of ways through services such as the MethodistChildren website and free weekly texting service. We are also involved in various online church projects for those of all ages, but there's always more room for growth.'

Doug Swanney, Children's Work Development Officer, comments that; 'This strengthens the case for churches to develop work on days other than Sunday and to try one-off events and holiday clubs. It shows the opportunity churches now have for partnership with schools and clubs as they develop their extended services.'

Children's workers across Britain are adapting to this trend and the survey highlights their most pressing needs as wanting a local forum to discuss ideas and encouragement, more resources and more training. MethodistChildren has responded with a new resource, The MethodistChildren Journey, which is being sent to all churches this week.

Doug comments; 'The most significant finding of the survey is that when churches do something new, it usually works. Churches need to be ready to take the risk of trying new things Ð they might just surprise themselves with how successful they are.'

The results of the survey are available online at www.methodistchildren.org.uk.

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