What is the “Next Gen Pastor?” This is most likely a common question from churches. Nina Schmidgall defines the role as the pastor to the next generation. He or she is the person who is leading the ministry from cradle to graduation (and maybe through college). In Nina’s Orange Conference 2014 pre-conference workshop she goes into detail about this Next Gen role in the church.


1. Champion the Next Generation

This role is a guardian of the DNA. Before you guard it, though, you need to define it. Maybe someone needs to help you define it. This person’s goal should be where everyone on the team can state your purpose. Then, they help the overall team to remain committed to that DNA.

2. Lead a Team of Leaders

This needs to be someone with boldness that can confidently lead “up” and “down.” They also need to manage well, which becomes more of a supervising role.  They also need to be able to have the hard conversations.

This will often take:

  • Patience: It might take a while.
  • Boldness: Be willing to push for some hard things.

3. Fight for Strategic Alignment

This leader will strategize the calendar between all areas of family ministry.  Maybe this involves cutting back on events, in order to focus the DNA of partnering and empowering parents. Silo-style ministry cannot happen. This leader encourages all other leaders to attend each other’s ministries. Everyone has their own area of contribution, but they all work together for the same purpose and end-result. Inspire this among the team. They need to be collectively responsible for the same objective. This also effects your terminology used within the entire church.

Nina recommends the book, “The Advantage” by Patrick Lencioni.

She then gave a few questions to ask of your team to see if you are strategically aligned?

  • Do the leaders of your team sit around the same table on a regular basis?
  • Do your calendars and budgets compete?
  • Is there a clear, designated leader?
  • Have you clarified the win for parents at each stage?
  • Easy and clear transition between age groups? Celebrated?

4. Create a Pro-Family Culture

The family ministry pastor is really a minister to the whole family. Nina’s church created a plan and present it to the parents, showing them the plan from birth to graduation in a simple but creative way. This is similar to how my church (and others) have Legacy Milestone celebrations or events. Her church also does not do any event that does not focus, at its core, of partnering with parents.


Nina finished by going into ways to make your family ministry/next gen pastor successful:

  • Ensure the family ministry director has a seat at the table of decision makers.
  • Ensure they can really manage teams: capable and empowered.
  • Ensure they have the ability to define (or redefine) the DNA for the church.
  • Ensure they have regular meetings with the leaders and teams of individual ministries.
  • Ensure they align all the calendars and budget among all ministries.

What do you think about this role of a Next Gen Pastor or Family Ministry Director? Is it something your church has? Is it something your church should have?

Contact info for Nina Schmidgall:

Nina Schmidgall is the family minister at National Community Church in Washington D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @ninaschmidgall.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.