Why do Boys matter...
Boys don’t matter more than girls, they are struggling more than girls. And most children’s ministries struggle to connect with boys.
Boyoncy is a website about connecting and communicating with boys in children’s ministry. Especially 4th-6th grade boys because churches wonder how to engage boys when they are younger so they lose them as they get into 4th-6th grade. I’m Josh Shaw and I love kid’s ministry. (Never saw that coming but you can read that story here.) Boys, especially older boys, are the hole in our otherwise successful programs. We need Boyancy because while girls are staying afloat as they get older, boys are sinking.
Churches attract significantly more women than men at every age. Not only in childhood. But it’s not just at church.
Boys are struggling at school. They used to be leaders in their schools and now girls have far more of the leadership roles. All the way through college, girls succeed and lead more. Experts estimate that if colleges didn’t have gender quotas and did not provide substantial academic support to males, the natural ratio would be 35% male to 65% female. Colleges focus their resources on boys to keep their ratios closer to 50-50.
If boys feel that they “lose” to girls at school and at church, no wonder they obsess on video games. If they are sinking, or at least feel they are, then we need boyancy in our children’s ministries so we get better balance.
I want boys and girls to thrive at church equally. And to do that we have to focus more attention on boys so it evens out. That’s why I’m focused on generating and curating resources to help children’s staff, volunteers, and parents connect and communicate with boys. Whether school is naturally more “girl friendly” (as some suggest and others debate) or we have unconsciously made our ministries more attractive to girls, boys don't thrive at church as well as girls do.
One bonus of boyancy. Making children’s more boy friendly, makes it easier to recruit men so there’s greater balance in adults as well.
So what does a young guy of 25 have to say about children's ministry.
1. I have spent hundreds of hours working with elementary age boys. I know what they like. I still play the video games and spend too much time on Youtube. Just last weekend I comforted a third-grade boy who was almost in tears because the fifth and sixth grade boys were saying that Minecraft is a stupid video game.
2. I know what’s good, acceptable and actually wrong in the on-line world. Take Pew die Pie. Your boys either watch him or know who he is and they shouldn’t be. But not for the reason the press went crazy over in the fall of 2016. That’s a misunderstanding of the gamer Youtube world. He’s bad news for your boys because he’s R rated. Parents who check every movie review for unacceptable content have no idea that their son is watching two hours of R rated Youtube. That’s why I made the Youtube gamer channel “Blacklist” where I rate the most popular gamers by giving them movie rating to help navigate what is appropriate and what's not. Knowing this helps more than parents. If your large group leader mentions that Pew Die Pie swears trying too hard to be funny she will be able to speak in any fifth grade boy's spiritual life.
3. I can help keep you current. Referring to Memes or popular videos from four months ago doesn’t make you relevant, it makes you out of it. I will give you a monthly run down of what’s in and out on the web.
4. I had the chance to get my Master’s degree while immersed for a year in a boy focused children’s ministry (that is also one of the leading ministries in the country). Christ Church of the Valley has figured out how to get boys engaged, to bring there friends, and drag their parents to church. Instead of older elementary boys being a drag on attendance, they are an engine. Being there made me rethink and learn how to tweak almost every aspect of kids ministry for boys. (Like don’t say “Jesus loves you”, say “Jesus wants to be your friend”. For why, check out this video.
5. It wasn’t that long ago I was a boy in a children’s ministry. I attended a great church. A mega church with great programs and a full staff. But it’s still hard to be a boy at church. My sister complained the lessons weren’t deep enough. I complained it was boring. enough said.
Since, you are new, I would recommend starting off with these articles and videos.