Last week, we had our annual congregational meeting. The meeting is designed to review what has happened during 2015 and to share plans for the upcoming year. I thought I’d share the Children’s Ministry Annual report here to let you know what we’ve been up to!
Once again, as I reflect on the passing year, I am deeply grateful for the many people who give so consistently in the Children’s Ministry department. By the power of the Holy Spirit, lives are being transformed, spiritual seeds are being planted, kids are hearing about the gospel of Christ, and faith is deepening each week. None of this would be possible without our faithful team members.
Thank you. Truly, I am so grateful for each one of you.
Sometimes, we can see the impact of our influence as we work with kids each week. Sometimes, we see the lesson click and the eyes of a child light up as they experience the love or power of God in a new and beautiful way. Sometimes, we have the privilege of seeing a young person grow into an authentic and passionate relationship with the God who made them. And sometimes, we will never know our impact until the other side of eternity.
Sometimes, it seems that our efforts are in vain… all the prep work, changing diapers, cleaning up glitter, washing hands, negotiation peace treaties between preschoolers, gathering props, listening to the same memory verse fourteen times in a row, and applying band-aids. Sometimes, it seems that maybe all those things don’t amount to much. But I assure you, they do.
God is powerful.
He works in mysterious and complex ways. He cares about the soul of every person we encounter. Your efforts matter. Your prayer matters. Your faithfulness matters.
As a church, we rally around our vision statement: Lead. Build. Equip. Send. I have recapped the year by seasons below with the corresponding aspect of our vision in parenthesis.
In 2015, we wanted to give kids a fuller picture of the Bible and help them learn how to navigate through the pages. During Wednesday night Kids for Christ, we talked about every book of the Bible (some more extensively than others), highlighted major historical moments, and explained how the Bible is grouped into types of books such as history, poetry, and prophecy. In the Spring, we focused mainly on the Old Testament. (BUILD)
In our Children’s Church program, we used a curriculum called Grow, Proclaim, Serve which is designed specifically for a wide range of ages. Often, our Children’s Church rooms are bursting with kids and we’d love to be able to split into two age groups during 2016 (we’re looking for two teachers to help make this possible). (BUILD & EQUIP)
In the Summer, we took a break from our Navigating the Bible series and learned “What Our Pets Can Teach Us About God” on Wednesday nights. We had a few special guests including a turtle and some goldfish. We also began a time of corporate prayer both on Wednesdays and on Sundays. I’m continually amazed at the passion that some of these kids demonstrate as they lift up their loved ones and concerns before God. (BUILD)
We returned to Whitford Park for the fourth year in a row for Preschool Story time. We also added an “Art in the Park” program for the older kids. The art program was very popular with the elementary kids and ended with a beautiful art show curated by Ann McQuiston. During 2016, we are planning on shifting entirely towards arts and crafts during our time in the park, using more of an “open house” format for parents and kids. We hope this leads to more conversations and opportunities to invite people to church. (LEAD)
During the Fall, we jumped back into learning how to Navigate the Bible on Wednesday nights, focusing now on the New Testament. During Children’s Church, we began a new curriculum called the Gospel Project which looks at God’s big redemptive story by moving slowing through the Bible over a three year time period. (BUILD)
We returned to a local home for the third year for the annual Block Party on Halloween. We passed out glow sticks, bags of candy, and invitations to church to the nearly 200 kids who stopped by. Several families remembered us from years past and remarked that we were “the best house on the block”. (LEAD)
The Wednesday night kids worked on a service project during the fall for homeless children in Erie. We assembled “Good Night” bags which held a blanket, stuffed animal, story book and a homemade card from a fellow child. Once they were completed, the tote bags were delivered to the Erie City Mission to be used in their Family Resource Center. (SEND)
In 2016, we hope to do more service projects with the kids in order to love our community and turn their hearts toward service (EQUIP/SEND).
This winter, we were pleased to bring on Taylor Burnham as the Children’s Ministry Assistant. Taylor is primarily responsible for the management of the nursery and she also assists me with many administrative tasks. She has been a tremendous blessing to the ministry and I look forward to working with her in 2016 (EQUIP).
One of the first tasks Taylor and I tackled together (with the help of a few other team members!) was revamping the nurseries. As you may have noticed, the nurseries now have new carpet, new toys, new furniture and even a parent lounge. We hope to have a wall mural done in the toddler nursery during 2016. We know that the nursery is the first impression many new parents have when attending our church for the first time, and we are steadily working to make sure it is the best impression possible. (LEAD)
The Children’s Ministry program chose to forego the Christmas play this year in an effort to lighten the holiday load for our volunteers and for parents. Instead, we plan on making a movie during the summer months with the kids based on the book of Esther from the Bible. Auditions will be announced shortly (EQUIP).
Thank you again for all of you who help to make the Children’s Ministry programs possible. I am so grateful for your involvement. To stay up to date on the latest and greatest in Children’s Ministry, be sure to sign up for the weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/II-N9 and follow East Lake Road Alliance on facebook for helpful articles and inspirational verses.