Children’s Ministry and Growth
Not everyone is called to work with kids or youth. I am so thankful that God did put that love and desire in my heart to teach kids and mentor teen girls! I always look forward to Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings with “my kids.” I wanted to share a few things I have done since being on the field.
This was the start of my kids' class when I first arrived. It ranged from ages 2-17. Of course the 17-year old is more my helper and crowd controller!:) As the church itself started to grow we started to get more kids coming to class. I started a points system with my class. You get a point for attendance, bringing your Bible, memorizing your verse, bringing a visitor, helping with weekly outreach, and singing special music in the church service. The reward would be at the end of a specified time period. The winner would get to go out to eat at the restaurant of their choice. I have found that food really is a great incentive for kids! Not too long after I started teaching the kids' class, we held Holiday Bible Club (Vacation Bible School). After a great week of Holiday Bible Club we had added two more girls to the class. We were then able to start Thursday night youth class. Thursday evenings give me a longer time with the kids, and they get to play games, learn music, and learn a lesson from God’s Word.
Over Christmastime, the kids got to decorate their own full-sized gingerbread houses. I don’t think they had ever done anything like that, and they seemed to have a blast. Once again I implemented a points system for Thursday nights as well with a reward “of their choice” should they win. We will know this June who the winners are for the first half of the year. It has been so much fun seeing the kids grow and learn. Sometimes we as teachers wonder if they are getting or understanding anything, but time and time again they prove to me they do hear and it does click. I love the looks on their faces when they make the connection that one lesson we had coincides with another lesson months down the road. Of course we had a Christmas program as well. They did such an amazing job with their lines and songs. For me programs are so much fun. Parents get to see their kids in action and hear the Gospel!
As we began the New Year we also began a monthly Youth Fun Night at my place. Once again, I wanted to give the kids another opportunity to get together, get to know one another, and possibly invite friends who wouldn’t go to church but who might feel more comfortable at a less “formal” gathering. Each time we meet, I do an object lesson that helps to share some truth from the Bible. Some of the themes we have done are Movie Night, Ice Skating, Game Night, Make Your Own Pizza, Play the Wii, Basketball, and Badminton. Of course my house cannot accommodate basketball and such, so we rented a community room for that. I have seen an increase in attendance to our Youth Fun Nights by some who are not youths, but my goal is for those who want to come to feel free to come. Some of the young adults who come are not faithful yet to church, so I know they are at least getting something when they come for the Fun Nights.
We just passed the time that we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord. Once again the kids did a special program for that. It is such a blessing to see them get excited about inviting their family to see the presentation. One of our newer girls had her parents come and watch. I do not believe any of them are saved, but they heard the Gospel that day and are planning on coming again! As I look back on these last seven months, it is so clear that God is at work. It is nothing I can do and nothing Bible Baptist can do, but God is leading and guiding. Ladies, especially those like me who are serving single, don’t give up! Don’t believe the lie that Satan tells you about it not being worth it. The hard work, the tears, and the happiness are more than worth our time. These precious children want to learn and grow. They want to have fun while learning. It has been a stretching experience to learn to adapt my lessons to such a large age group and yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you are struggling for ideas I would happy to be of help. Or if you have ideas you would like to share, I am all ears! Just know that God has called you to the place you are. Some of you feel you don’t do well with teaching kids, but that is where God has you. That is ok! One thing I have learned, kids really don’t judge you. They will never know your worry or fear over whether you said or taught exactly what you were ‘supposed’ to teach. Let God lead your lesson. I have found that I planned on going the way the lesson plan was, and while teaching, God led it a different way. Just be willing to serve and watch God give the blessings and results!
Guest Post by Deana Hewston, Missionary to Scotland