The Transformation of Children’s Ministry
When you first came to Clarksburg Church, what was the state of our Children’s Ministry? AND/OR Other than numbers, how have you seen the Children’s Ministry grow, develop, or change over the past 2 years?
- Our first Sunday at Clarksburg Church was a challenge for our whole family. We had left a church where the children’s ministry was overflowing with the rambunctious energy of many children. On our first Sunday at Clarksburg Church, there were three kids in the elementary room. The preschool class for my other daughter had to join the nursery because there were not enough children to occupy both classes. While it was hard for my children to adjust to this change, it also made me sad to see volunteers pour their hearts into developing lesson plans and children’s programming only to have few children, if any, showed up.
What we experienced during our visit two years ago now feels like a distant memory. Not only has the Children’s programming grown numerically, but I have seen the kids grow in their relationships with each other and their small group leaders, even beyond spending time together on Sunday mornings.
Our kids love being together and I love seeing that our small group leaders are so invested in our children that they often spend time with the children and their families outside of Sunday mornings.
Why is it important now to have someone in a Children’s Ministry-specific, full-time, role?
- When most people think of Children’s Ministry, they picture it as a childcare service; something that is offered during Sunday service so the adults can do the “real work” of learning about and worshipping God. But that’s not true for one very important reason: Children are vitally important to Jesus. Our Children’s Ministry focuses on three primary points of impact in our children’s’ lives.
- First, we aim to create an environment for kids at every age to have the opportunity to learn about and worship God in age-appropriate ways. Thinking through how to do that takes a lot of work, especially as we continue to grow and have the opportunity to offer more age-segregated classes.
- Second, we want to make sure those who teach and train our kids are awesome and well-equipped for the task. Chances are if you grew up in a church and are still active in your faith, it wasn’t because of the cool program or craft that was done on a Sunday morning. It was the influence of someone who loved, listened, and took you seriously. Our hope this that by having someone in a Children’s Ministry-specific role, we will have the bandwidth to better train and equip our team of volunteers to be just as relationally effective and influential.
- Lastly, we want to make every effort to come alongside and support the people who have the primary role of teaching kids about Jesus: their parents. No parent can do this thing alone. The new Children’s Ministry Fellowship role will allow us to dedicate a new level of attention to how we are supporting our parents in the important work to which they have been called, develop our small group leaders, and focus on the age-specific environments of worship and learning for our kids.
Tell us a little about how you have seen Taylor’s desire to work in Children’s Ministry grow over the years, and why she might be a good fit.
- First and foremost, Taylor’s heart is for kids. I really believe that when she sees a child, she sees the image of God in that child. Taylor’s desire is to help that child see it for themselves. But she didn’t start off in Children’s Ministry right away.
It’s actually a pretty funny story.
Taylor was one of the first people I met when I came to Clarksburg Church two years ago. I sat next to her during service and at that time she wasn’t serving in Children’s ministry. A few weeks later, the lead volunteer for Children’s Ministry was moving and we were in need of a replacement. Taylors’ name was shared as an option.
At the time I didn’t really know Taylor. I knew it would be better for me to just spend with and get to know her. The following week I asked Taylor to grab coffee with me. Before our “coffee date,” I promised myself I would not bring up Children’s ministry at all. I just wanted to get to know her.
I only found out later that Taylor had promised herself that if I had brought up Children’s ministry, she was going to leave the church. But I didn’t! So she stayed!
What is your vision for Children’s Ministry at Clarksburg Church?
- I hope we will be a place known for awesome kids! Kids that reach out to others on the playground, cafeteria, and neighborhoods. I hope for a ministry filled with kids that are known for their compassion, justice work, and love for others. But this doesn’t happen with one hour a week on Sunday mornings. It is a holistic approach and involves an “all-hands on deck” mentality from the entire community. It requires everyone to step in and through our lives and our words, teach what it means to live this kingdom life.
Why is it important to reach the $56,000 goal in three months?
- By reaching the $56,000 goal, we will not only be taking care of our existing commitments (building maintenance, programs, community support), but we will cover the year-long stipend for Taylor’s fellowship which includes the renovation of a place for her to live during her fellowship. This amount ensures we won’t need to relinquish any of our previous commitments.
You have mentioned that the church is already walking in faith. How have you seen the congregation step up to support the “Miss Taylor” Project?
- Oh man. I have seen people give sacrificially in many different ways. Some have decided to forego eating out, give out of their savings, give a small amount regularly, and a few have decided to give a one-time big gift on top of what they regularly give. The generosity abounds!
If you could offer Taylor one piece of advice, what would it be?
- Can I give two? First, don’t allow program growth to quiet your appetite for kingdom growth – they are different. When you step into a church staff, it is easy to think that they are the same thing. But Kingdom Growth is something so much bigger than building a program. We don’t want to just see more kids on Sunday mornings, we want to see more kids GOING OUT of the church equipped and ready to build the kingdom, show the love and Jesus, and bring heaven to earth. What happens on a Sunday morning is the means to the end goal, which is the kingdom.
Second, this kingdom work is a marathon. We must pace ourselves and remember that in Jesus’ parables about the kingdom He often compared them to seeds. Sometimes there is a long period of sowing with little to no harvest, and then a bumper crop.