My church has one, and odds are yours does too. Â Most churches have a set ratio of the number of teachers/leaders/volunteers they require in a classroom for every certain number of kids. Â In my church the ratio is 1 teacher for every 7 kids (except in the nursery where it is 1 nursery worker for every 4 infants).
Churches recruit for their ministries based on ratio’s like these. Â “Parents, we could really use some help in kid’s church. Â We have 30 kids coming, but just two people helping out…so we are reeeeaaaaally short staffed. Â We need at 2 or 3 more people. Â Can you help out?” Â The trouble is using a 1-to-7 ratio is far too low, at least if you want the kids in the church to be lifelong followers of Christ. Â According to Lifeway Research:
Teens who had at least one adult from church make a significant time investment in their lives….were more likely to keep attending church. Â More of those who stayed in church – by a margin of 46 percent to 28 percent – said five or more adults at church had invested time with them personally and spiritually.
Did you catch that? Â The more people who invest in a kid from church, the more likely that kid is to stick with their faith. Â We live in a day and age where countless teens are walking away from their faith after high school. Â Could one reason be because we (the church & parents) have left our kids spiritual formation entirely to one person in a classroom, who is already distracted by 6 other kids, and only given them 75 minutes a week to speak into our children’s lives?
What would happen if we changed the ratio? Â What if rather than trying to get one teacher in every room for every 7 kids, we made it a point to try to help parents find 5 mentors for every one of their kids? Â What if every kid got more than a teacher for a single Sunday morning service, but beyond that had multiple people who were investing in “them personally and spiritually” throughout the week, the month and their life?
Don’t get me wrong, I think 1 to 7 ratios are important and needed. Â They provide structure and safety for classes and ministries. Â I also think that every single Sunday school teacher, kid’s worker, youth staff member plays a pivotal part in a kids’ spiritual growth. Â I also think they by themselves they areÂ insufficient. Â I think that a childrens or youth worker can, and should, be an important voice in the life a kid, but it should only be one of the voices that that child hears. Â The reality is though, many kids are only hearing one voice, and so many are walking away from the faith. Â To put it another way, 1-to-7 ratios are killing the next generation of the church.