This is children’s/family ministry

Dan Kimball was in a D.Min cohort at George Fox University. After the week of class, Dan and his family attended church in Seattle. Below is a report of their experience with the children’s ministry. This is what it’s all about, making the children feel secure, welcome, and happy, and they learn something to carry with them…

From Dan…

Sunday morning, we went to the 11 AM worship gathering at Mars Hill Church. Becky and I went to a Mars Hill worship gathering about 9 years ago and had dinner with Mark back then. I’ve been there a few times since, but this was the first time as parents bringing children. Katie and Claire are now 6 years old and it is always interesting seeing how as parents, it is checking in children to a new church, how easy it is to find where to go and what to do etc.

Children_check_in Childrens_area_2 I will say that we both felt this was probably the best experience we have ever had at a new church in terms of the children’s ministry and staff. It’s so interesting as before we were parents we didn’t pay attention to these things, but now as parents these things are so important. There were signs that made it easy to find, there was even family parking, and when we got to the check-in area, the children’s staff were more than friendly and helpful. Two staff came over and started talking with Katie and Claire making them feel more at ease and before we knew it they were off in a class. Normally they (Katie and Claire) may ask for us to go with them into the class and check it out a bit, but they were put so at ease by the staff we didn’t need to.

Inside_gathering_2 Becky and I went into the gathering and sat in the back and Mark was preaching on the resurrection of Jesus and giving some apologetics for responding to some of the more common criticisms of whether it happened or not.? During the gathering there were some words on the screen coming up letting you know you could text in questions about what Mark was teaching. At the end of the sermon, I think there were three or four questions he got to answer – which was great in terms of having some interaction from people even in a crowd the size this was.

After the gathering we got Katie and Claire and met up with Mark and caught up a bit. It really is quite amazing seeing what has happened over the years here at Mars Hill. I remember very well the first time I was here and the church was maybe around 200 people and now seeing the growth to over 6,000 people and multiple campuses. Mark_and_katie_and_claire_2 But whether 200 or 6,000 – this is what I know happened and what I valued as a parent. Katie and Claire started telling us what they did in the class, and started reciting the Shema from Deuteronomy 6. Not only that, but they unrolled a little scroll that they made in the class and were showing us how in Hebrew the letters go from right to left and Claire was pointing to the words in Hebrew and then telling us the English word written underneath. Childrens_class_3 Several hours later in the day, they still could go over what they learned and even this morning a day later, Claire could say it again. So our daughters learned the Shema at Mars Hill Church and I thank the children’s staff there for making it such a positive learning experience for them.

High-energy children’s worship

Here’s a great post on why we need to have a highly-interactive children’s ministry to stimulate children’s minds. Information was taken from a WSJ article on 2 book reviews on neuroscience.

children’s ministers

Ministry to all families

As a Family Minister, I’ve always tried to provide various ministry resources to every member of the family. In the past it has been easier to define the family: mom, dad, children, grandparents. However, today’s family can be much more difficult to define.

In my daily work schedule, I see many types of families: two-parent families, single-parent families, families headed by grandparents, families headed by aunts and uncles, and other family heads as well. Each of these families needs guidance and support and resources to help them raise the children in their care. The church must step up and take a stronger stand on helping to provide those resources. Churches need to reach out in a non-church setting in order to reach some of those families.

In the June 2008 issue of HomeLife Magazine, there is a article by Denise George, titled “All By Myself.” She outlines 7 things churches can do to minister and provide resources for single moms. Churches can provide Bible studies, enlist couples to teach classes together, bring women together, encourage women to mentor other women, organize retreats, provide practical help, and pray daily.

These are all fantastic ways churches can minister to single moms and non-traditional families; however, churches need to go outside the church walls with these methods. They need to host a class in another location, maybe in a coffee shop. They need to encourage families to mentor other families in their neighborhoods or in playgroups. It is important that families do not alienate these non-traditional families by criticizing their families; they must offer them support and resources to help them to raise their children in moral and Godly ways. Through these mentoring relationships and daily prayers, God will speak to each one of these families in His own unique way.


For stay-at-home moms, it’s payday .

He knows my name

During the mid-morning hours of my work day, I work in a preschool classroom of 3-4 year olds at a private Christian preschool. Today the other teacher in the room asked me to sing songs with the children as we cleaned up from morning snack. The children love music and we have a long list of songs to share with each other. After singing several songs of my choice, I asked the children to choose the songs. Four-year-old Isabella asked if we could sing the “Our Father” song. I said I didn’t know that one and told her to start it off and we’d all follow along. She insisted that we did know that song and then I realized she was talking about “The Lord’s Prayer,” not a song. So we started off “The Lord’s Prayer” as follows:

“Our Father who art in Heaven” then Isabella came to the next part and said “How do you know my name?” instead of “Hallowed be thy name.”

It was so cute that she was hearing that part of the prayer as “how do you know my name.” I used that as a Christian education teachable moment to explain to Isabella that God knows her name because He made her and loves her very much. Even at age 4, children can learn about God’s love and His special attention.