Kids Min Leaders and Your Spouses

The degree of health in my relationship with my wife, Marissa, will have a direct impact on my overall performance in ministry, how I grow as a leader in ministry, and whether or not people will follow me as a leader.

1 Timothy 5:8
“. . . Everyone should take care of his own family. If he doesn’t, he has left the faith. He is worse than someone who doesn’t believe.”

Here are some questions I recently asked my staff to process with their spouses, and I even posed the question to those on my team who are not married but are in a serious relationship:

1. On a scale from 1 to 10 . . . how well do you listen to your spouse or significant other? (This is a great question to ask your spouse from time to time)
2. When is the last time you did something special for your partner? On top of the awesome stuff we do on a regular basis . . . in what way have you gone above and beyond to show your partner how much they mean to you?
3. Where is your partner on your list of priorities in life?

The level of health in our marriages, second only to our relationship with Jesus, will spill over into our work whether we like it or not . . . a healthy marriage (or a healthy relationship with your significant other) coupled with a healthy relationship with Jesus will equal a healthy ministry.

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Delegation And The Two Roadblocks That Hold Us Back

When I first started in ministry, my pastor stayed on me for an entire year about my lack of delegation . . . it seemed that every time we talked he would bring up delegation. My pastor never let it go because he knows that coming to understand delegation is a process, it takes time. Now that I have a staff of my own I’ve started helping them through the process as well . . . and I’ve discovered two roadblocks that we’ve all had to face in order to move forward with delegation.

FIRST ROADBLOCK: The fear of giving your job away . . .

So many fears and insecurities rise up when you begin the process of learning about delegation. The first question that always arises is, “Will I give my job away?” Let me just say this, if your in ministry and you delegate your job away then you are my hero! Bottom line: it’s not possible. And besides, delegation isn’t about giving all of your responsibilities away . . . it’s about identifying those things only you can do and allowing others the chance to shine carrying out the rest under your leadership.

But this leads us to another issue of delegation . . . being OK with letting others shine. It’s OK, we’re all human beings here, and that means we like getting credit and getting that pat on the back for a job well done. So what will happen when you delegate a certain role to someone else who does a better job than you? OH NO! Well, take a deep breath because you did your job well if you delegated a role to the right person . . . the person YOU KNEW could do the job better than you. Brag about them to your leadership! Let them shine! And rest easy knowing that your leaders and supervisors view you in a higher regard knowing that you’re the type of leader that can assemble a SUPER-TEAM in order to dominate the ministry you’ve been tasked to lead.

SECOND ROADBLOCK: I won’t have anything to do . . .

This hurdle causes panic for some, but here is the truth: When you delegate you will find yourself no longer running around like a chicken with his head cut off (poor chicken), and yes, you’ll be going home on time and no longer working late hours every night. If you think that is bad news, then buddy . . . you’re a workaholic (and that’s not a compliment). And on Sundays you might actually get to walk around slowly at church and interact with kids, parents, and volunteers . . . that’s huge!

But none of that means you’ll no longer have anything to do . . . when you delegate you elevate your role from ground level to a 30,000 ft view of what’s really going on in your ministry. You go from doing everything on your own to leading others to carry out the mission that makes up your ministry. On top of that, you will still reserve certain roles for yourself . . . these are roles that you and your leadership feel that only you can do . . . better than anyone else. But now, since you no longer have a million things going on at once, you’ll be able to carry out those few roles with excellence on top of leading and investing in your team.

A wise man or woman knows his or her limitations . . . so find those areas where you are weak and delegate it to someone who can do it better under your leadership. Find those jobs you no longer have time for and find those people around you that are looking for more responsibility in the church. YOU CAN DO THIS! When you start to feel the fear of delegation just remember this: If there is something that you know you can do and your mind keeps throwing up road blocks, just know that you can drive right through them.

And by the way . . . thanks Ron Edmondson!

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Ways Your Kids Ministry Can Support Youth Ministry

It’s very important that each ministry on your Family Min Team works to support one another . . . here are some ideas of ways your kids min can support the youth ministry at your church:

CELEBRATE YOUTH MINISTRY

1. Go out of your way on Thursday to ask how the youth service went the night before. Maybe the youth team just got back from a big event, be the first person to ask how things went and join in on the celebration!

2. Brag to parents in your kids min about the youth ministry. When I’m talking to parents of my 5th graders about camps they’ll experience in our middle school ministry I always remind them that as much fun as their children had at kids camp . . . they’ll have even more fun at youth camps. I even have the same attitude with parents when talking about kids min Sunday morning services compared to Wednesday night services for the youth.

3. Lift up the youth ministry to the children in your kids ministry. It’s our job to transition kids into youth ministry with a level of excitement and anticipation that is unmatched. Few things will help out and honor your youth pastor more than receiving kids who are on cloud 9 because they have “arrived” in youth ministry.

PROVIDE TO YOUTH MINISTRY

Is your youth ministry planning an event . . . then be the first to offer equipment they could use to enhance their environment. At Grace, tons of volunteers in kids min also serve in the youth ministry. Whenever the youth does something that might pull away volunteers from kids min on a Sunday we don’t get mad and frustrated . . . we adjust kids min that day to allow those volunteers to focus on youth stuff.

Bottom line: There are countless ways for your kids ministry to provide to youth ministry much needed resources and man-power. Set aside time to think about ways you can provide for the youth ministry.

PREPARE YOUR KIDS FOR YOUTH MINISTRY

At Grace we created a preteen ministry (4th/5th graders) for the purpose of getting them ready for middle school ministry by:

1. Aligning our goals with the youth ministry . . .

2. Mirroring dynamics, such as small group times based on deep discussion instead of games and activities . . .

3. And promoting Open House night for kids entering 6th grade . . .

Bottom line: For each stage of a child’s life, whether it be preschool or middle school, part of our purpose within each ministry is to prepare that child for the next ministry.

THE WIN:

1. Our youth ministry is there for us anytime we need them . . . because we’re on the same team . . .

2. Our youth help support kids min by volunteering . . . I think this is because they see the connection and support from their leaders . . .

3. The biggest win . . . we’re united . . . and that’s priceless . . .

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A Letter to ALL Kids Min Volunteers . . .

To the volunteer—

This Sunday at Grace is our Promotion Sunday in Kids Ministry, and we look at this time as a new year. No matter the role in Wonder Warehouse, Cross Street, or Revolve . . . every volunteer fights for one mission: to help kids grow in their relationship with Jesus.

Whether setting up lights in Cross Street’s large group, holding a baby in Wonder Warehouse, or connecting with a 5th grade boy in Revolve . . . every volunteer in Kids Ministry is a royal priest called to fight for the hearts of these precious children. This is what the Bible says about you in 1 Peter 2:9–

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

This new year my desire is that every Kids Min volunteer remembers that they are a part of a “royal priesthood” helping kids grow in their relationship with Jesus, no matter the volunteer role . . . because all of us fight for the same mission. When you show up to serve you are more than a person on a schedule . . . you are “God’s special possession”. When you set up space for small groups to happen, smile at that parent as you check in their child, or lead a group of 3rd grade girls you are declaring to these precious hearts “the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Don’t worry about being perfect this year . . . pay no mind to your past . . . instead set your gaze upon a God who takes the mess that is you and me . . . makes us precious in His holy sight . . . and then gives us the amazing opportunity to help lead kids to know a Savior that wants the same for them.

This year little Sarah in 3rd grade is going to learn that her beauty and self worth isn’t based on the assessment of this world but instead on the love of Jesus . . . who sees her as a work of art worth dying for. Michael in 5th grade will come to understand that following Jesus means not just saying he’s a believer but instead living out his love for Jesus for the world to see. This year so many parents will come to understand that they don’t have to be perfect to be their child’s most important spiritual leader . . . they’ll learn that even with all of their sins, stains, and shattered dreams they can lean on a God who will never give up on them or their children . . . and together as a family they can grow closer to Jesus.

Don’t ever say you are “just” a volunteer . . . you are so much more than “just” a volunteer . . . you are the movement of God . . . the hands and feet of a Savior.

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Kids Ministry Volunteers at Grace Community Church: Step Up or Step Down

Are you a volunteer in the Kids Ministry at Grace? Are you interested in volunteering? If so, then this blog is for you.

First, I want to thank all of our faithful and passionate volunteers fighting for the hearts of my little girl and the hundreds of other wonderful kids under our care. Through loving relationships between Kids Min Volunteers and kids we knock down walls in the name of Jesus Christ and partner with parents to help our little ones (from birth to 5th Grade) grow in their relationship with Jesus . . . what an important task we have in front of us . . . To tell you the truth, few things on a Sunday morning are more important than what you guys do each and every Sunday at Grace.
For the past year my staff and key volunteers have worked hard to make improvements in our Kids Min systems . . . and even though we will always have things to improve upon I feel like we have taken great strides in building and maintaining wonderful systems for our children and parents. With that being said, we are now entering a new season in our ministry where I am “laser-focused” on the heart of volunteers and kids like never before . . . this next year will be all about RELATIONSHIPS.

Relationships are messy and difficult . . . they are rewarding and challenging . . . but if your goal is to reach the heart of another human being then a relationship is the only way to make that happen. In our Kids Ministry this year we’ll fight like we’ve never fought before to build true, lasting small groups where volunteers can invest in and build relationships with kids and their parents.

But to build up small groups in Wonder Warehouse (our preschool ministry), Cross Street (our K thru 3rd grade ministry), and Revolve (our 4th and 5th grade ministry) we need the right volunteers. We need an army of believers that are willing to make their volunteer role in Kids Min a priority by showing up consistently on Sundays, arriving on time, and coming to church prepared by looking over their lessons before Sunday. From here on out anything less will not be accepted . . . it’s time to go hard or go home folks.

For the next year we as a staff and as volunteers are going to work toward building relationships and accountability partnerships so that we can live out what we want to happen in small groups for kids. This means that mentoring will take place for every volunteer to help growth occur spiritually and to help us improve in our volunteer roles. Our goal is to build a network around volunteers so that when he or she is in need of folks to lean on during times of trouble, we’re there . . . or when you need someone to celebrate with you, we’re there.

In other words, across the board in Kids Min, we’re stepping up. What I need from here on out are staff and volunteers that can give their hearts to this mission we call Kids Ministry. I need an entire army of believers that are willing to rally around our kids and each other, look Satan in the eyes, and with total dependence on Jesus tell our enemy that if they want our kids they’ll have to go through us first . . . I do not need perfect people, I just need believers who are ready to fight for the hearts of kids . . .

So before August 12th I need all of us to ask ourselves some tough questions:

1. Am I willing to make Kids Min a priority?

2. Am I willing to come prepared on Sundays . . . ready to give 110%?

3. Am I willing to complain less and come alongside the church to make our Kids Min better . . . even when times are difficult?

4. Am I willing to joyfully give my time and maybe even break a sweat?

We are entering a season in Kids Min where we all have to step up . . . God has laid on my heart to fight for relationships this year. The Kids Min staff has a solid game plan, and we have solid expectations for ourselves and for our amazing volunteers. The vision God has placed on my heart is to see, after a full year, staff and volunteers challenged and supported to rise to new levels in their volunteer role and as human beings on a journey of faith, and to see kids in small groups where they can be looked in the eyes, listened to, and loved.

I will not compromise with this vision . . . and I will not accept of myself, my staff, and my volunteers anything less than a positive attitude, a hard working spirit, and a noticeable passion to see Jesus move in the hearts of our kids . . .
So here’s the question:

Am I willing to step up and fight or do I need to step down?

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Cross Street’s PROJECT DARDEN

Dear Parents,

Over the next three Sundays (July 1st, 8th, & 15th) we are challenging all Cross Street Parents and Kids to begin raising money to help Byrns Darden Elementary School, where we’ll have Cross Street Day Camp on July 18th, 19th, and 20th for K thru 3rd Graders.

We want to focus on three things to help this amazing school:
Planting trees and flowers at the front of the school.
Putting together 150 book bags (with school supplies) for kids in need.
Decorating gift bags for teachers & placing printing paper inside.

This is a great way for parents and kids to join forces to raise money in order to help such an amazing school! There are MANY ways for your family to collect money: a lemonade stand in your neighborhood, maybe have your child do extra chores around the house, host a neighborhood bake sale, or maybe have your child decorate a collection jar that you take to work. There are so many fun ways for your family to pull together in order to help this cause.

AND HERE’S THE BEST PART: On the last day of Cross Street Day Camp your child will actually be the one to plant trees and flowers, stuff book bags for kids, and decorate gift bags for teachers! AWESOME! Think about it . . . your child will not only experience the blessing of raising money for Project Darden, but they will also get the chance to complete this project with their own two hands.

So, have your child bring in donations to the Cross Street area on July 1st, 8th, and 15th . . . let’s raise all the money needed to complete Project Darden.

And if you have not registered your child for Cross Street Day Camp, please do so now. We have a limited amount of spots for your child.

COST: Only $20
To Register:
Go to http://www.gcomchurch.com/daycamp-registration
OR email kids@gcomchurch.com OR simply call 931-802-3585

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Help for Parents Preparing a Child for Baptism

Hello Grace Parents,
This Sunday at the Rossview Campus and next Sunday at the Kenwood Campus we’ll have Baptisms! This is always an exciting time for our church. For parents, the days leading up to such an epic Sunday is your opportunity to begin talking to your child about their Next Steps: salvation and if they are ready to be baptized.

Salvation:
Feeling insecure about talking to your child about salvation? Never fear! Simply go to http://www.gcomchurch.com/cs-baptism to download our Pre-Baptism Packet, which will help you and your child explore the Bible in order to uncover the truth about Salvation.

Here’s a great article about leading children in accepting Jesus into their lives:
http://www.annointed.net/blog/sinners-prayer-for-children/

Baptism:
After you’re confident that your child has accepted Jesus Christ into his or her heart, then the Next Step is for your child to understand Baptism. Plain and simple . . . Baptism is a way for us to show our family, friends, and the world what has happened inside of our hearts. When we are “dunked” underwater we are showing everyone how we’ve been buried with Jesus, and when we are raised from the water we are showing the world that we have been given a new life with Jesus Christ. Baptism doesn’t save us because we’re already saved when we ask Jesus into our hearts . . . Baptism is simply telling the world that we are saved.

Not enough? That’s ok! Simply email adam@gcomchurch.com for a Baptism Workbook to go over with your child.

Also, know that your Kids Pastor, Adam Bayne, is just a phone call, email, or text away . . . call me at 931-802-3585 or email me at adam@gcomchurch.com with questions.

There is nothing more important than you, the parent, taking out time to talk to your kids about Jesus . . . so make time this week to invest in the eternal life of your child.

VERY IMPORTANT:
If your child is ready for Baptism simply email Karen@gcomchurch.com letting her know that your child wants to be scheduled either at Rossview (June 17th) or at Kenwood (June 24th).

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Grace Parents: Quality of Time OVER Quantity of Time

Now this isn’t about never spending time with your kids, but let’s face it . . . as parents we have careers &  jam-packed schedules. Even for a stay-at-home mom or dad (which is the hardest job on the planet) life is super busy with a hundred and one things to do around the house, in the community, and for your child and spouse. In fact life as a parent can get so crazy that we not only lose track of time . . . but we can lose track of days and even months . . . precious time that gets away from us leaving a mom and dad looking at their child wondering where all the time went.

This article is about ways that we as parents can stop the clock, so to speak, and invest QUALITY TIME into the lives of our children. What do I mean by quality time? Basically, I define quality time between a parent and his child as . . . both parties enjoying themselves as they spend time together. Now this seems so simple to anyone who doesn’t have children . . . but to parents we know what it means to love a child beyond words and at the same time want to bang our heads against a wall because they are driving us bonkers.

So how do we create a span of quality time where we forget about everything else in life and just have fun with our child? I have the answer to this sometimes vexing question . . . ready for it . . . intentionality. Yes, I said it . . . and I bet you’re thinking, “Oh gosh, there’s that word again . . . sounds fancy . . . but in reality it’s a bunch of fluff.” And it can be, but what if we put some “meat on this bone”? Maybe then this fancy word can mean more than smooth talk . . . it can become reality.

Here are some steps parents can take to intentionally prepare for quality time with their children:

1. Think at least a week ahead . . .

The first goal is just to locate that day on your calendar where you can dedicate half a day, a full day, or maybe even two full days where you can spend quality time with your child without anything else getting in the way. The goal is to at least look a week ahead to give yourself time to plan and prepare. Go ahead and mark that date and time on your calendar, let your employer know that you will not be available and why, and maybe make close friends and family aware of what’s going on and why you will not be answering your phone that day.

2. Start a list of fun things to do with your child . . .

This is so much fun, but it can’t be rushed. This is why it’s so important to give yourself at least a week to dream about all that can be done to make this quality time with your child magical. This past week I jotted down ideas of not just stuff that my daughter likes to do, but stuff I like to do as well . . . activities I enjoy doing that I would like to share with her. Here’s the truth: quality time with your child can be a mixture of your child’s interests as well as your own . . . because guess what, to your child you are next to God and whatever you like to do they want to experience and like as well. If your a dad and you like baseball, maybe put on your list to play catch or go to a game. Maybe it’s gardening . . . you and your child can plant flowers together in the front yard. If all your doing is stuff that your child loves to do than your “quality time” will be pretty boring . . . find stuff you both enjoy to do and create an environment where you treasure each others interests.

3. Create the day’s schedule by using your finalized list . . .

This is a very powerful piece. To know what the next move is can create momentum like you’ve never seen before with your child. Think about it, your swimming at the pool having a blast, but then you sense the moment of fun winding down . . . so you ask the kids if they want to dry off, to which they happily nod yes. Then, as your drying off you’re building hype for the next activity by going on and on about how awesome it is . . . in the mind of a child this is heaven . . . one amazing thing after another with their mom, their dad, or even better . . .  both!

4. Use transition time wisely . . .

Be sure to use that drive to the next event, eating lunch, or setting up that board game to connect with your child by discussing things that matter. Talk about school, her softball team, Summer vacations, what they want to be when they grow up, and the list goes on and on. For parents that go to Grace, one tool that can help you guys during transition is the take-home tools that you receive on Sundays when you pick up your child from our Kids Ministry. These tools are chalked full with discussion ideas and activities.

5. Once steps 1 thru 4 are complete . . .

So you’ve set the date and time, thought through your list, made a schedule for the day, and even planned out all of your transition discussions . . . now what? I can promise you, if you’ve put this much time and effort into planning your day, then it’s going to be EPIC! Now it’s time to talk it up with your kids . . . make them so excited about their special day that they are counting down the seconds. In other words . . . make them as excited as you are . . . part of the fun is both you and your child going nuts over the anticipation.

Why all the fuss . . .

Why is all this planning and taking out time to invest in your child worth it? Its just a day . . . right? Wrong. Here’s the beauty of following through with these steps . . . all the time you set aside in planning and then the amazing quality time you spend with your child will not end when the sun goes down on that day. When you intentionally prepare for quality time with your child I can promise you that those memories will last a lifetime for you both. Many years from now when your little boy is a father himself, he’ll still want to talk about those adventures he got to experience with you . . . but more importantly, he’ll want to do the same for his child . . . and to think you started this magical tradition by simply being intentional.

A way Grace can help . . .

Throughout the year Grace’s Kids Ministry hosts Family Venture events where we challenge parents and kids to come out with us and have fun. We hope that as you’re planning your next magical day that you will include us in your plans . . . check out our dates this Summer:

June 23rd-Family Venture Movie Night at Kenwood High School 6:30 pm (free)

July 17th-Family Venture Water Park Day @ Venture River Eddyville, KY ($14.95 per person)

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What We’re Doing In Pre-Teen Ministry That Works

This is an email I sent out to an amazing dude at our church that is interested in Revolve, our Preteen Ministry for 4th and 5th graders. It explains so much about what we are doing in Revolve that is working. Keep in mind that Revolve hasn’t even existed more than a year, and we are still changing and evolving . . .

___________________________________

Hey dude! Here’s some info about Revolve . . .

start here: http://www.gcomchurch.com/preteens

The reason we created REVOLVE is to allow 4th/5th Graders the chance to revolve around Jesus for a year and then to revolve around the biblical idea of community for a year. We have also introduced a serve component which is working really well . . . the three components that we revolve around, Jesus, Community, and Serving, will help our preteens transition into the Mix (our middle school ministry). So now when a child leaves our Kids Ministry and enters The Mix they will have a firm understanding of who they are in Jesus, they will have a better understanding of discussion-based small groups where authentic relationships can be formed, and they will have the option to continue serving in Kids Min on Sundays since their main service, The Mix (which is designed for them), will be on Wednesday night.

Here’s the flow of a day in REVOLVE:

1. Kids start out in the REVOLVE area, playing video games and hanging out (we call this Chill Time). During Chill Time leaders are hanging out with the kids in a non-structured fashion . . . great way to build authentic relationships.
2. After about 10 minutes the kids rally together and a leader reminds them that they are about to serve at Grace Community Church by heading over to Cross Street (K thru 3rd) and helping out in Cross Street Large Group. They help with games and by being actively engaged during worship (setting the example for the younger ones) . . .
3. After that, they head back to the REVOLVE hallway and begin their own large group time, where they watch a video we filmed or hear from a leader in person . . .
4. Next, they break up into small groups and have meaningful discussion about life, Jesus, and living in community . . .
5. When small groups are finished the kids and leaders can go back into chill time and hang out together.

During the Summer Revolve shuts down. 4th and 5th graders join K thru 3rd graders in full on Large Group and continue to serve . . .

Revolve will start back up in August. At that time I’ll get in touch with you and see if maybe you might want to start serving in REVOLVE.

Thanks man,
Adam Bayne
Kids Pastor (Birth-5th Grade)
adam@gcomchurch.com
cell 931-802-3585
office 931-647-6800 ext. 1013

______________________________

 

 

 

 

Cross Street Large Group (K thru 3rd)

 

 

 

 

REVOLVE Small Groups

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVOLVE Large Group

 

 

SIDE NOTES:

1. As far as curriculum, we are using NavPress’s Student Life Bible Study for Middle School. We’ve found that 4th and 5th Graders want to dive into God’s Word and get super deep. This curriculum allows us to challenge our preteens without confusing them . . .

2. We view preteen ministry as a transition ministry . . . in everything we do the goal is to prepare them for Middle School and High School ministries . . .

3. We give parents a take-home tool called a Parent Page, so that they can carry on the discussion throughout the week. What happens at home is WAY more important than what happens at church, and we want to empower parents to lead strong by giving them this awesome tool every Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jim Bianculli: A Life Inspired by a Connection Between Family and Church

Jim Bianculli was more than my wife’s grandfather to me . . . he was a wise counselor, an incredible man of faith who inspired me every time we talked, and a dear human being who will always hold a special place in my heart and in the hearts of anyone who had a chance to spend even just five minutes in his company.

Unfortunately, Jim passed away last year around Thanksgiving. I can remember the feeling of sadness mixed with peace and joy as we celebrated and remembered an incredible husband, an amazing father of six, and a friend to all. Afterward, my wife and I spent time at his home with Jim’s equally amazing wife, Marilyn . . . looking through old pictures, very complicated jigsaw puzzles he put together, and old notes and letters he had written. I’ll never forget when this particular note that Jim had written to God was brought to my attention:

“Father-Would I have found my way to you, if my parents had not pointed me in your direction?”

In that moment I was reminded of how important a partnership between church and parents is in the lives of so many families in churches across America, churches that seek to partner with parents in order to make a greater impact in the lives of children.

Jim Bianculli is the product of parents who partnered with the local church. Together, a combined influence pointed his young life to God and instilled wisdom during Jim’s childhood, which then echoed throughout the rest of his days on Earth . . .

Partnering with parents is much harder than simply taking in children and telling mom and dad that we, the church, will “take it from here”. “We’ll be the one to teach your child how to live for God . . . you don’t have to worry about that.” But the truth is . . . the church is not the most important spiritual leader in a child’s life . . . that’s the job of a parent. In reality the church is LUCKY if we have 40 hours within a year to invest in a child’s life, but parents, on the other hand, have thousands of unplanned hours.

It’s easy to fall into the mode of not fighting for that partnership . . . but when we stop and think about each child that we’re blessed to have in our ministries and dream about what life will be like for them 50, 60, 70 years from now . . . don’t we want each one of our kids to be able to ask the same kind of question as Jim asked? Because his parents carried out their role as Jim’s most important spiritual leader,  this allowed Jim the chance not to think about what it would have been like if his parents would have fought for his heart and partnered with the church, but instead to think about what it might have been like if they hadn’t done so . . . would he have still found his way to God . . . Jim was lucky to have such amazing parents.

Yes . . . partnering with parents can be tough . . . it’s tough because a partnership goes beyond a program . . . at the heart of a partnership is a relationship. Here are some of the ways we partner with parents at Grace:

1. We encourage all of our Small Group leaders to get to know their kids personally, and to always look for moments to interact with parents.

2. We encourage Small Group leaders to come to family events that Grace hosts throughout the year in order to hang out with parents and kids.

3. Grace looks at a Sunday as a chance to introduce a biblical truth . . . but from there we give parents take-home tools to use with their kids so that they can continue to talk about what was learned on Sunday. What happens at home is more important than what happens at church.

4. Grace puts on Family Productions where mom and dad can have fun along with their child, and we host Family Venture events where parents and kids can go on an adventure together to a Water Park, a Skating Rink, or whatever else we can think of where parents and kids can have a blast together.

5. Grace sends out links to parents where they can learn more about parenting and how to be a child’s most important spiritual leader.

6. Grace hosts Baby Dedications where we present the idea of parents being the most important spiritual leaders and we ask parents to process the kind of person they want their little baby to be when he or she grows up. And we ask parents to partner with us along this amazing journey called parenthood.

7. We as a church staff always remain available to connect with parents in order to talk through issues and to help problem solve together . . . we want parents to know that they are not alone.

These are just some of the ways that we as a church, along with MANY other churches across America, are partnering with parents. Yes, it’s harder. And yes, it’s messier. But when I think of Jim Bianculli as a child being taught about Jesus by his parents and his church and then I reflect on the man he became and the life he lived . . . well, it’s all worth it.

One of Jim’s puzzles that was given to my little girl . . .

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