Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2016 Family / NextGen Ministry Survey. I primarily did the survey to hear from leaders in family ministry so I can understand how to best serve them. I have a couple of big projects in the works for family ministry leaders, and this survey also helped me determine if there’s a need for those projects.

Survey Results

Scroll down if you would like to download the full results of the survey along with a number of cross references to see how that impacts the responses. Here’s information about the responses as well as what stood out to me.

Survey Responses

  • 256 people completed the survey
  • 161 Women & 94 Men (1 skipped this question)
  • Role Breakdown
    • 153 are Children’s Ministry Staff (60%)
    • 46 are Student Ministry Staff (18%)
    • 40 are NextGen / Family Pastors (16%)
    • 14 are Children’s Ministry Volunteers (5%)
    • 1 Student Volunteer & 1 Volunteer not in Family Ministry (1%)
  • Church Size
    • 0-500 – 46%
    • 501-1000 – 29%
    • 1001-2000 – 15%
    • 2001-5000 – 8%
    • 5001+ – 3%
  • 17% of the churches represented are churches planted in the last 10 years
  • 22% of the churches represented are multisite

What Stood Out To Me

  • I was a bit surprised how hard it was to get student ministry input. In fact, if it weren’t for advertising this specifically to student pastors on Facebook, the response rate would have been so low it wouldn’t have been helpful. I’m not totally surprised, however, because I’m aware that my connection in the student ministry world is not what I’d like it to be.

Helpful Topics

  • The #1 topic people say would be helpful to them is Partnering with Parents. #2 was Small Groups for Kids/Students. Volunteer Recruiting and Volunteer Training came in at #3 & #4, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Partnering with Parents and Small Groups as a high priority.
  • Strategy was close at #5, and those top 5 were far and away the favorites with a big gap between them and the rest.


  • 67% listen to podcasts, which is probably higher than I thought. The bulk of that is Andy Stanley’s and Carey Nieuwhof’s.
  • 82% would listen to a podcast featuring top family ministry leaders, while another 16% said they might.
  • Only 2% said they wouldn’t listen to a podcast with family ministry leaders. People are more open learning from podcasts than I thought.


  • Not enough volunteers was by far the biggest challenge leaders are facing. That was not surprising.
  • Not enough time was the second biggest challenge.
  • Men were twice as likely to say one of their challenges was not enough clarity (32% vs 16%).
  • Children’s Ministry Staff, Student Ministry Staff, and Family / NextGen Pastors were almost identical in the topics they were interested in.
  • 75% of Children’s Ministry Staff listed Not enough volunteers as a challenge versus 42% of Student Ministry Staff and 62% of Family / NextGen Pastors.
  • Whether a church is multisite or not did not impact challenges much, with the exception of budget (far less likely to list it as a challenge).

Church Size

  • Just like you’ll find in any recent multisite report, larger churches are predominantly multisite (75% of churches 2001+).
  • Church size did not really impact people’s responses about the topics they were interested in.
  • The larger the church, the more likely the leader was to list Not enough knowledge as a challenge.
  • Not enough rest also becomes more common the larger the church size gets.
  • Not enough budget is the opposite, being the most common in the smallest churches and becoming less common as church size increases.
  • Almost 3/4 of leaders in the largest churches (5001+) listed Not enough buy-in as a challenge, far greater than any other

Survey Results Files

Use the links below to download the full survey summary along with cross-referenced versions.

What’s Next?

I’m excited about the two projects I’m working on to help family ministry leaders. I know they’ll be helpful to me and I’m hoping the same is true for you.┬áIf you’re interested in hearing more about them, be sure to subscribe to email updates.