LORD, LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN PRAYING . . .
It is always a blessing to hear the prayers of children, and this time I’m not talking about children in my typical, all-inclusive, no-age limit sense of anyone who is a “child of God,” but specifically about our children and youth – those in high school on down – and their presence in worship and participation in the life of our congregation.
Currently, from September through May, programming and childcare is provided for children and youth during worship. This includes childcare in our nursery, “Church School” in the lower level for pre-K through 5th grade, and a Middle/High School group that meets to discuss a varied curriculum and work on service projects like Magnify the Light. These groups join the congregation for worship once a month for Communion, and several students choose to attend worship regularly instead of going to age-specific classes.
Is this the best plan for nurturing faith in our children and youth? Should we do more to connect our youth with the whole congregation? Do we believe our youth should be in worship, and if so, is our current way of worshiping meaningful and understandable for youth? What do we believe about why children and youth should (or should not) be in worship?
These are some of the questions that we are all being called to consider, discuss and hold in prayer as we discern God’s vision for our children’s and youth ministry. Some discussion has already begun among church leaders and staff, and all will have an opportunity to join the conversation at a Church Leadership and Congregational Retreat on Saturday, May 20 from 9:30 – noon. Everyone – and especially parents and students – are invited to attend and give input on this very important question about why and how to be church with children and youth. Childcare can be provided – please RSVP to the church office if you plan to attend and will need childcare (657-3111, or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Also, on Sunday, May 21, we will celebrate with thanksgiving another wonderful year of Christian Education and the ministries of our C.E. Co-Directors, Wendy Mickle and Randy Silber, at an ice cream social following worship. Wendy and Randy have resigned their positions following this program year, but will continue to serve on our Formation Commission and participate in our conversations about our youth and children’s ministry.
We do anticipate having children’s activities both in and out of worship through the summer months, and look forward to discerning God’s vision for our church’s youth ministries going forward next fall.