My executive pastor has been referencing a statistic that a healthy church should have a children's ministry that is 20% of its total attendance. Would anyone out there know where that comes from? Would anyone have a different number from a different source?
It comes from a lot of sorces. Barna refrences and there are church polls that go around. But that doesn't mean if you are higher or lower there is something wrong. You have to look at your community make up and the people you're targeting. Our percentage tends to be higher but that's becasue we have a large culturally catholic community we are ministering to and they have 3+ children typically. If you are ministering to a largly young working class community you will probablly be lower. Talk with you minister about the people your ministering to and what a healthy church in your area would look like.
Tony Morgan's church consulting group works with a number of churches and hundreds have taken his health assessment. From that, they find the average church has kids making up 21% of the attendance.
Churches I've worked with have been all around that number, from 15% to 30%, but that does seem to be pretty common. Obviously the average age of the church is the biggest influence.
I haven't seen anything linking it to church health. May be a better measure to use US Census data to determine what percentage of families in your community have children and see if you are above or below that. One thriving church in Manhattan has over 400 attendees but only 6 children in their kids ministry... but they're in Manhattan and actually mirror their community well.
I am not sure where that statistic would have come from. It looks like others have already answered to that effect.
In my experience, it seems it would vary quite a bit based on the demographics of the community you live in, the age of the church and the number of children in the families attending. He may have meant it as a general guideline or as a goal to pursue?
It might be healthier to ascertain the current percentage of kids in your church, set an agreed upon goal representative of your community and pursue a strategy to attract more young families. This strategy should not be only for the children's pastor. It should include ways for the leadership of the church to attract young families and programs to serve them.