A Look at our vision for having kids in the service
by Koenraad Beugelink
We want to communicate the vision behind having our kids in the services (noted below) during the summer and also how we can best prepare for and welcome them with gladness on Sundays.
The vision behind a summer break from Kids Church is twofold.
1. New Life has a history of strong and vibrant Kids Church ministries that run from Sept-June each year. There are many passionate volunteers that serve during the year that need a break from the regular schedule of ministry. This cycle of serving and resting is our way to build a sustainable rhythm of Sabbath into our Faith Formation ministries. This enables us to see higher numbers of leaders return in the fall to continue leading their grade groups as they journey through Kids Church in a sustainable rhythm. This vision is also consistent with several area CRC churches. Relationally connected, passionate Kids Church leaders that are rested over the summer, blesses our kids and it gives these leaders a fresh wind to guide them through the next ministry year. Please be sure to thank your children’s kids church leaders when you see them.
2. We want New Life kids to recognize and experience that they belong to the expression of a greater community. We call this a demographically diverse community. We don’t want our children feeling like they really just belong to an age segregated small group downstairs.
Kids certainly need age appropriate instruction, and our Kids Church program does that well from Sept-June. Yet we are learning from recent Christian history that much more attention needs to be given by churches to forming strong attachment relationships between children and the intergenerational communities that make up churches. This value on belonging/attachment to the larger congregation is why kids are not dismissed until after the first part of worship, or even after baptism, and why they rejoin us on Lord’s Supper Sundays. It is a big part of why we make plans to have kids in our services throughout the year also.
At New Life we will continue to provide excellent spaces for kids to engage their faith and provide opportunities for kids to join the diverse community of Christ in lifting his name and engaging his word together.
So this summer as our wiggly little ones join us in our worship services, let’s together help them recognize and experience that they belong and that they are attached to God’s intergenerational family; a diverse community at New Life Church. The next article offers suggestions on how we can meet this summer with success.
Parenting in the Pew Planning for Success
I get it. Believe me I get it. You have wiggly kids and I have them too. At times I want a break just like you do. I enjoy my sermon time and my kids distract me and probably too often, distract those worshipping around me. But given the value of the cradle to grave faith forming vision we are moving towards, here is where I (we) might need to begin a mental shift on the Sundays where kids are in the church service.
Let us offer some simple ways that we might be able to serve our kids best as we settle in for a summer with kids in the service with us. Here are some practical suggestions that we can implement and/or adapt to suit our kids during the summer Sundays ahead.
Grace. Kids are kids and God loves them. God loves them even if they distract. “do not hinder them (even if we think they distract us)” So let ALL of us love our kids no matter what. With grace, gentleness and love let us welcome the kids around us. We can be that proverbial “village” it takes to raise our children in the faith.
Prepare. Our kids back packs are no longer in use for school. So we can re purpose them for these summer Sundays. We can pack a back pack with the items seen in the picture below. Having quiet activities, Kids Bibles or Graphic Novel Bibles to read, colouring books, paper and colouring felts, crayons and notebooks etc. and even storing your own parents Bible are great things to add to the bag. There will be an ALL Summer Kids Bulletin available on July 9th that the kids can hand in completed for a prize in Sept.
Engage. A) NL Leaders will do our best to engage your kids by recognizing they are part of the community and the worship service, ie: kid friendly sermon illustrations, kid’s stories and kids bulletin (Summer Sermon Series Booklet) for them to follow along in during the summer.
B) We would also ask for YOU to engage our kids. EG: if you are a kids church GEMS/Cadets or youth leader please use the 3 min fellowship and connecting time to make your way to a child tween or teen that you might already know in your class or small group and welcome them. In that welcome try to convey in the way only you can that you are glad they are here, and that they are welcome and belong in this space.
If you are not a children’s or youth ministry leader we encourage you to do the same for the kids that will inevitably be sitting next to you. Another way to say “you are welcome here” is to be that really friendly lady or man that gives the kids a peppermint or candy just as Pastor Nathan starts his message. Grace, Preparation and Engagement are key ingredients to making this summer a success for our kids.
Thanks for all you do as grandparents, parents and partners in ministry. If you are able to help serve on July 16, 30 or Aug 20 to make our Kids Zone safe and successful please contact:
Koenraad Beugelink firstname.lastname@example.org or
Nathanael Van Deventer email@example.com