A building is best built on a sturdy foundation. A sturdy foundation without a viable building is not worth much. They are both worth more together. That is the image that comes to mind when one thinks of Next Gen Ministry! A Next Gen leader is an individual, within a local congregation, that is responsible for the discipleship programming and spiritual growth of children & youth, birth through twelfth grade. Ideally, this person is a main decision-maker and is in the top tier of the church’s leadership design. Many churches understand the need to have a children’s ministry and a youth ministry, each with its own specified leadership, but without the Next Gen leader, your church might be missing an important piece of the puzzle to make effective and efficient ministry happen for your young people. Not sure why…below are SIX REASONS why every church needs a Next Gen leader! Effectively Assign Space: If you are like most congregations, space on Sunday morning is scarce for children & youth worship environments. It is the responsibility of the NextGen leader to ensure appropriate worship space is assigned and used for all age groups. Build Security: The Next Gen leader serves as a mutual connecting point for children, students, and parents. Every level will have different volunteers, and may even have a different director, pastor, or ministry leader, a common face can assist during moments of transition. Eliminate Competition: There is nothing like having a children’s ministry leader and a youth leader who don’t get along. The Next Gen leader may not be able to make them besties, but they can be the voice of reason when tensions get high! A Next Gen leader can help to eliminate competition between children & youth ministries by reminding everyone of a mutually agreed upon vision. Fair Budget Allocation: Budgetary concerns can be better split across age-groups. If one person has a snapshot of the needs of all the areas, with one ultimate goal in mind, they can better appropriate where the money needs to go. The need can be addressed based on short-term and long-term vision rather than sporadic events or projects. Vision Connectivity: How can you be sure that your children are ready for student ministry? How do you know what faith skills your youth have already been taught? If one person knows the answer to both of those questions, then you have someone to ensure a point for growth connectivity. Children & youth ministries can connect rather than the two operating totally independently of the other. Faith-Development: While religious habits can be emulated at any level, skills that allow for a healthy analysis of our faith are developed over time. Just think, we are able to prepare our children better for middle school, when we know what they learned in elementary school. The same thing is true for faith development. Student ministry leaders don’t have to teach basic faith practices if they know their students got it as children. Student ministry leaders can now focus on helping their students live out their faith in the marketplace. Children’s ministry leaders don’t have to overload “everything Christian” in 5 years of ministry but rather can focus on teaching our children the basics knowing that student ministry will help them own, practice, and mature their faith as they become young adults. The size, budget, and culture of one’s congregation will help to determine how your children & youth ministries are set-up. Some congregations have paid staff at each level while others are led by volunteers and still others are some combination of the two. Whatever the set-up and staff allocation, having one NextGen leader, that is responsible for the connectivity of children & youth ministries is an indispensable set-up and investment that our younger generation deserves.