Everyone knows how important it is to train your children to be lawful citizens and obedient, respectful individuals. We all want our children to grow up to be good Christian Disciples who love God and strive to serve Him as well. In order to accomplish all that, we make rules and do our best to enforce them and give our kids good examples to follow. We follow laws, speak with respect toward others and make sure they attend church regularly.
But we all know that doing all those things doesn’t guarantee the favorable outcome we are seeking for our children. We must have intentional conversations and lead by example. If we want law-abiding children, we must be law-abiding parents. If we want respectful children, we must demonstrate respectfulness in our own lives. The same concept holds true in the spiritual realm as well. If we want to raise up children striving to be disciples of Christ, we must show them that their parents are striving for the same thing; they are just farther along the path.
It is common sense that to get someplace we must choose a path and follow it. Our leadership has laid out a clear path of discipleship for us to follow and many of our parents are taking seriously their God-given roles as parents to guide their children on the path as well. Our Children’s Ministry parents do a good job bringing their children to Bible Class and Worship, as well as guiding them in their own devotionals, Bible reading and prayer.
Moreover, several of our parents are leading their children into lives of serving in the Body by their own examples of service. It is not unusual to see Scout Jolley ushering right alongside his dad, Jason. Or to see Lauren and Brianna hand-stamping the preschoolers alongside their mom, Sara Reel. Or to see Abel Shepherd hand-stamping his friends because he sees his parents, Andrew and Megan doing that once a month. It is not uncommon to see Hudson Mynatt greeting people alongside his great-grandfather Charlie Carnes. Or to see Tré Phillips greeting with his parents, Mark and Meghan.
All these youngsters have begun their journey to becoming a mature disciple of Christ through their eagerness to serve in His Body. We commend our parents who are taking their next steps on their Discipleship Path by investing in the lives of their own children by showing them the right path to follow.
“Mommy, I Didn’t Cry Today”
The beginning of the trek on the Discipleship Path can come at any age. There are unique challenges at any point of life, however, for three year olds the challenges are a little different than for adults. Dealing with separation anxiety can be the first hurdle to learning about Jesus and initiating that trek. Recently, one of our three year olds proudly announced to his mom that, “I didn’t cry today in Wee Worship. I got sad and thought about it but remembered the fun that we had last week and didn’t cry.” Caring Wee Worship Leaders help our youngest searchers begin the journey from learning about Jesus to following him.
Bet You Can’t Catch Me
When you’re really excited about something, you can’t hardly wait to get there. One of our four year olds regularly leaves her parents far behind as she races down the back hallway toward her classroom. She can hardly contain her excitement and the smile on her face says it all as she sprints toward the loving, Christ-centered environment of her Bible class. Knowing her teachers, I’m not sure who’s more excited, her or them.
Boy, That Looks Fun
Those of us in the Elementary Wing always know when one of our Kindergartners is about to arrive. His three year old little brother regularly beats the rest of the family to the Elementary area to check out what is going on prior to our Praise and Worship. He knows that the older kids are having a great time and is “all ears” as his older brother describes everything that took place. Heart-felt worship sets the tone. Loving and engaging teachers and small group leaders make sure each child feels important and included.
Lead-in activities that range from wacky games to TV game show style reviews introduce the lesson of the day. No wonder little brothers can’t wait to get in on the fun.
Clear Creek’s children are surrounded by influences that are showing them how to disciple. Volunteers, like Dan and Helen Cothron, are setting examples for our children that are not going unnoticed. Houston Hicks, Ethan Lane, and Sadie Reynolds come to mind when I think of children who are using their abilities to disciple other children. Houston and Ethan both volunteer to pray and greet in the children’s wing as often as they can. Sadie is consistently the first to volunteer every time I have asked and encourages others to do the same.
This summer, I have seen goodness in our children. It has been a joy for me to witness the Lord shine through them. A few instances that quickly come to mind are the fifth graders on the mission trip to Atlanta, the inclusion of the visitors at music camp, and the joy they found at Summer J.A.M. Among all of those, one instance stands out in my mind the most.
Sundays in the three-year-old class are fun, joyful and chaotic. There are several children in that class and one of them loves to be read to at the end of class. One Sunday, she had a roughmorning and she needed the routine to make her feel better. The teacher who had been reading to her had to talk to a parent at the door and I was working on a project with some kids at the table, leaving her without someone to read her book. One of the children, Alexia Rodger, walked over and “read” the rest of the book to her. It was a beautiful thing to witness a child, who cannot even read, doing what she can to make a friend feel better. She let her light shine that day.
When given the opportunity to teach younger students on a couple of Wednesday nights, the 3rd-5th grade girls Small Group jumped at the chance! They were given the choice of teaching a lesson, presenting a puppet play, facilitating a warm up activity or leading a craft activity to a group of 3 year olds or 4 year olds.
Each girl quickly inventoried her own strengths and weaknesses and signed up for her task. They each then grouped together according to their tasks to plan, coordinate, gather supplies and practice what they would present to the younger students.
These girls were beyond excited for the opportunity to go deeper in their discipleship journey by actually serving in the classroom like grown-ups do. The young 3’s and 4’s were also very excited and were almost in awe of the older girls coming in to share Jesus with them.
Although the girls knew they were not as polished as veteran teachers, the joy on their faces as they interacted with the children made them feel like pros. And, who knows, but that this experience has sparked a passion for sharing God’s Truths in these young ladies which will set the course of their spiritual life for decades?!
Many things register on a spectrum – things like colors, disorders, and even discipleship. During a recent week in Children’s Ministry, such a spectrum of discipleship was observed. Look at this list of diﬀerent ways the children were observed growing in their discipleship:
- One group of students was bonding with their small group leader as they
laughed and shared in the midst of creative projects associated with their Bible
- Another group had a quality discussion surrounding real life applications based on the story in a recent Bible lesson.
- A third group laughed and energetically discussed answers to a Bible lesson
reinforcement activity as the boys tried to beat the girls by answering more
- Still another group had an in-depth discussion with lots of thought provoking
questions regarding the dangers of being a Christian today in certain parts of the
All of these discipling opportunities were covered in prayer and love by their leaders.
There is nothing like the joy of teaching and serving children as they learn to trust the caring adults ministering to them, as they learn to appreciate the Bible’s truths being conveyed in creative ways, as they experience the joy of serving others and as they feel the compassion modeled by mentors.
One can certainly see the spectrum of discipleship as children progress down the path
to mature Christianity. What’s better than being a part of helping “the light come on” and
then having a front row seat as God amps it into a beacon for all to see?
In Children’s Ministry we believe that you are never too young to learn to lead. We provide many opportunities for our children to learn from adults, then put various aspects of leadership into practice. If they are willing, we will find a place for them to serve no matter their age. Of course, the older they are, the more opportunities they may have. Third graders have led outstanding worship songs. First graders have volunteered surprisingly knowledgeable and detailed answers as they represented their class in large group lesson reviews. Fifth graders greet the other children at the door each week and welcome them in. Our older elementary students frequently serve as Team Leaders for games and Bible learning activities.
In addition to Bible knowledge, our goal is to develop Christ followers that aren’t afraid to stand up, speak up, and take a lead. When they put themselves out there, they grow, gain confidence, and provide an excellent example for everyone else. More than once, we have been amazed at their eagerness and effectiveness serving when offered the opportunity. It’s refreshing to see a group that is genuinely concerned about others without being overly concerned about how they are perceived. It’s reminiscent of the old catch phrase about JOY: Jesus first, Others second, Yourself third.
Audio Visual tech teams are always in need of more trained hands. Kids are definitely not technophobes. They learn quickly and are not afraid to try new things. This makes a great combination for training young minds to prepare and present audio visuals.
Each Sunday and Wednesday the Children’s Ministry has a rotation of 5th graders who are learning how to manage the visual presentation and the timing involved. They learn a little more and gain more experience each time we meet. Hopefully this group will be able to use their experience to help in the Youth Ministry and eventually in the Worship Center.
“That was so fun.” “When can we go back?” “They are just like us, but from all over the world.” Such were some of the 5th graders’ comments following a day ministering at a refugee day camp for children in Atlanta. Most of the adult chaperones of the trip are veterans of mission trips around the world who were able to prepare and advise the 5th graders as they went through the day.
One of the goals of the activity was to let them have a positive experience in a mission environment so they will be prepared for their move into Middle School ministry and its mission trips. Hopefully this was the first step in a life filled with service and missions.
After a few words of advice this group jumped in without hesitation, buddied up with other children, and began building relationships. For now, the clock is ticking until they can learn more about missions and put it to use.
That title is a little inaccurate. The young men and women we are training are actually some of the leaders (with adult guidance) of various aspects of Children’s Ministry. Each week some of our 5th graders serve as greeters to the other children arriving for Praise & Worship and Bible Class. Both the boys and girls involved are learning to be encouraging and welcoming to all ages as they enter the children’s ministry area.
Eli Horton frequently helps lead our Praise & Worship time and Sophie Hadfield will teach and direct the other girls in songs. (pictured above) They are using their talents while learning to be effective “upfront” leaders. Both feel very comfortable in that role and are always eager for the opportunity.
When Journey Through Jerusalem was being presented, some of our 5th grade girls taught about the Bitter Herbs at a Marketplace Booth. They not only learned the facts and history of the Bitter Herbs but also practiced presenting the information in an interesting manner to the younger children. The 5th grade boys participated by representing apostles at the Last Supper (pictured below). They became well acquainted with the facts and history behind the Passover Meal. This also gave them an opportunity to serve each age group the elements of the Passover Meal as they came to that Learning Center and participated in the Last Supper. In addition, the young men got to assist with behind the scenes preparation.
It’s never too early to begin training and preparing our young men and women. From Kindergarten through 5th grade, we strive to utilize all their talents and give them opportunities to develop them further. They are, after all, the leaders of both today and tomorrow.
It’s not quite a Timothy and Dorcas class and it’s not all out nervousness but it’s a little of both. Several of our young men participated in all aspects of worship for the Martin Boyd residents. They led the singing, read scripture, said prayers, served communion, and brought the lessons. With behind the scenes help from parents, they did an outstanding job. These young men displayed their talents and some broke new ground by doing something they had never done outside of our Children’s Ministry.
Not to be left out, the girls in that age group made Valentine cards for the residents during class the Wednesday before and came to Martin Boyd to hand them out to the individual residents. Both the residents and the girls had big smiles on their faces with the exchange of the cards.
It was a service for the residents, a proud moment for the parents, and an accomplishment for the young men. Some were disappointed they were out of town and not able to participate and all were excited at the opportunity. They loved the idea of serving others but sometimes you’re just glad to have a scary activity behind you. Until next time, then you can draw on the past experience and realize that it’s definitely something you can do again. Thanks to all that participated, attended, and encouraged these leaders of the future.