By Keith Lee
Do you know of churches in this area that are well known for their children’s ministry? Some are known for Bible studies or ethnic group outreach or young adults but I can’t find one that’s specially known for their ministry to children and for young families. Some have tried, but if you were to ask Christians who live in this area, they would be hard pressed to come up with an answer.
Maybe I’m not informed as I should be, but my point is that children sometimes are neglected or even vulnerable spiritually. In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth we read that His life was in danger by King Herod. Unfortunately, Herod’s paranoia resulted in the death of multiple babies in and around Bethlehem. In Luke’s account, we see that Jesus’ parents couldn’t find housing and had to give birth in a stable, then place the newborn in a manger. These Christmas stories remind us of the vulnerability of children.
One of the challenges I believe God has placed before us is the spiritual care and growth for children in our congregation and community. Imagine a generation of Jesus lovers! The demographers are calling those who were born after 2003, Generation Z. They will be completely different from the Millennials. How may we support, encourage, educate and most importantly disciple them to love Jesus and to follow His ways?
The answers are not simple but also not difficult as we might imagine. It could be consistent Sunday attendance so that our children develop relationships with teachers, friends and members, where Trinity is a living faith community that’s core to their lives. It could be active parental involvement as teachers, as assistants in classrooms and/or participants in Sunday School classes so that parents model faith in the church and home. It could be lifting up regular prayers so that our children know that God’s Kingdom advances not with our feet but on our knees.
I, as the education director or as the “Next Gen Pastor” (as some churches are adopting), promise that I stand with you in ministering to our children and their friends. In close collaboration with Trinity lay and clergy leadership I would like to see this ministry go to the next level. Not only will we raise children to be disciples who love Jesus but also become a ministry known in the area for its emphasis on next generation ministry!
One of the developments you will see with Children’s Sunday School is a change in its format. Students will meet in the fellowship building downstairs in the open area by the stair case. We will have a greeting time, time for song and praise, then a prayer with scripture reading, and then a Bible story presentation. After this gathering time, we will divide the students into three groups that will meet in the classrooms nearby. The objectives are community building, fostering Christian values through Bible stories, interactive learning, sharing lives, lifting songs and praise, and encouraging prayer life. I look forward to seeing you and your children at 9:30 on Sunday mornings!