For many years now, I must admit, there has been a secret I have kept. It is a secret that could ruin my reputation. This morning I admit that I watch Barney. To clarify, it is not Barney Fife that I am talking about (although that is one of my favorite shows). It is Barney, the big purple dinosaur. Okay, I have that off my chest now and I hope you do not think less of me, but as parents we MUST do certain things we do not necessarily like.
We watched a little Barney with Josh, but Hannah simply adores the Big Purple Dinosaur. She watches him, does the hand motions to the songs and tries to sing-along. It is cute, but it is Barney. Sometimes I go to bed with the songs in my head. “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family, and a hug for you and a kiss from me to you, won’t you say you love me too.”
Now let’s look at the heart of this confession. Since our children are 12 years apart, we have watched the evolution of Barney. We watched him when he first came out, 10 to 12 years ago and we see a difference. The dinosaur is the same, but the show has changed with the times. The songs are different, the movie set is different, and there are even some new characters. He even has a cool interactive website. They have changed with the times for the better. Barney still sings the same I love you song but the rest of the show is fresh.
If the children’s movie industry understands change, why doesn’t the church? We don’t change our message, but we might need to change our methods to reach people. The church needs a fresh approach to communicating the greatest message ever written. We need the evolution of the church. Now, I believe that evolution needs to resemble the characteristics of the early church, however, we need to be effective in the 21st century. People have different needs today, how can we address them? Some need more fellowship, others desire more teaching, yet others are needing specific ministries that will minister to their needs. Our children’s and youth ministries need to be able to reach an IPOD and video game generation with the timeless message of Christ.
What can we do in our church to address the needs of this generation? How can we be more effective today?