So what does your church have for our kids?
We have the most amazing, over the top, best ever, kids thing time ten. Seriously!! It is like a bouncy house, roller coaster, water park combined. Your kids will have all the pop corn, cotton candy, and hot chocolate they can handle – it is all non-gmo, organic certified. Am I being over the top?
On the other hand… Our children’s activities involve giving them a big cardboard box, some tape, five crayons, three pails of dirt, and some string, along with some adult supervision. We’re sure they will be fine.
Kids (and their parents) are funny. There is one sense in which there is never enough. The appetites of children are insatiable and even the most wild and exciting thing ceases to be enough at some point. Yet at the same time, the simplest things can captivate children for hours. I have a memory from a few years ago of an afternoon quickly passing as our son joyfully added dirt to a bucket of water and spent the rest of the time stirring his muddy concoction with an old stick.
As we work to shape the expectations for what we do with kids at Grace, there will be less options for children’s programs than an established church but more opportunities for involvement. We envision parents and children joining together in prayer, service, and sacrifice so that Grace would be established. Practically, our plan for ministry to children involves both families and kids, starting small and building.
Fundamentally we believe that children are made in the image of God and have an important role to play in his story:
-The Bible talks directly to children.
–We also see Jesus accepting the little children brought to him. He was even indignant at the disciples for stopping the children from coming to him.
-Furthermore, when we welcome a child in Jesus’ name, we are welcoming our Lord Jesus Christ himself. (Mat 18:5)
-In the founding documents of both the Old and New Testament God promises to work in the lives of children through the family and the broader community of God’s people.
-For this reason, we need to put great effort into teaching them who God is and how we are to respond to our Lord in worship, love, and obedience. The goal of children’s ministry is not that different “adult ministry.”
Practically, here are some ways this will play out:
-Beginning with the parents we will talk through some of the challenges and blessings of being a kid at a church plant and help parents involve their kids in establishing the church through praying at meals, setting up or tearing down, serving in the community, and responding with patience when things go wrong.
-In the sacrament of baptism, concerted prayer children in the church, and a worship service that includes them, children from an early age sense that they belong to God’s people. One example of including children in church is including phrases each week which non-readers can memorize and repeat, i.e. “This is the word of God.” “Thanks be to God.”
-Through Christian friendship and shared experiences of service and fellowship children develop friends across families and generations. They see what it means for a variety of people to follow Christ.
-Age specific programing such as nursery, or Christian Education will be rolled out as we have sufficient children and people to serve.
-Lastly, we will have child protection training for all volunteers and leaders so that our children grow in a safe, nurturing environment.