Kids Ministry Expands // M-Note 5.14.2021

In 4th grade, I had a Sunday School teacher named Ms. Novak. The church in which I grew up predated the Civil War, and the small upper room that we met in looked like it. Old, a bit spooky, and not much larger than a closet – but every Sunday, Ms. Novak would make it come alive. She taught us stories of scripture but not simply by reading off a page. When we studied Moses on Mt. Sinai, she provided supplies so that we could craft our own replica ten commandments from clay. In learning about the Jewish Passover and its connection to Easter, she took us down to the church kitchen and we made some of the traditional Passover food. Other days, she simply made us play out the story on those old felt boards with stick-on Bible characters (any other young churchgoers remember those?). I never thought about it at the time, but Ms. Novak invested a lot of her time, energy, and money in us – not because she had to, but because she wanted to share her faith with a new generation. And it made a difference. Her investment cultivated faith in me, sparked my curiosity in God, and was a part of my call to ministry. I was only in 4th grade, but Ms. Novak changed my life.
 
It is hard to know how acts of service can change the life of someone else. Before the pandemic, every month at The Gathering hundreds of kids participated in our kids ministry.  Some of them come enthusiastically, others with hesitation. Some are curious and interested, some skeptical or cautious. Some come knowing a lot about God, most come with little exposure to faith. But every weekend as a church, we have an opportunity to shape the lives of kids and share with them a faith that can change their life. Some of them need to know they are loved. Some of them need to hear that they are forgiven. Some need to experience that they are not alone. And some need to know that someone cares enough about them to invest in them.
 
On June 6th, we will be expanding our Kids Ministry to welcome all kids (nursery to 5th grade). As part of this return to full in-person ministry, there are a lot of opportunities for adults to serve in kids ministry and invest in the next generation. Perhaps you have worked with kids before, but maybe you never have. Regardless, I am asking all of you to try serving at least once this summer. We will teach you and train you (you won’t be left to your own devices). This can be a chance for you to not only shape the lives of kids, but even to discover gifts in yourself you never knew you had. There are all sorts of different ways to serve that can happen at various times and all three of our sites. If you are interested in learning more about serving, simply reach out to one of our Gathering Kids staff (natalie.williams@gatheringnow.org for McCausland, bethany.hanschu@gatheringnow.org for Clayton, and dallis.meyer@gatheringnow.org for Webster).
 
I don’t know what happened to Ms. Novak. She moved away from my church at some point after I had her as a teacher. I never got to tell her what a difference she made in my life. I suspect she doesn’t know that I am a pastor, or that the faith she invested in me is now shared with thousands of others. But it is, and the investment she made continues to have ripple effects far beyond what she probably imagined. That is what happens when we take a small step outside our comfort zone and decide to serve. I hope that this week you will take that step. You never know the impact it will have not only now but years in the future.

Peace,
P.S. In light of the recent CDC updated guidelines, The Gathering will be making changes to our worship gatherings. Next week, we will be making decisions in light of the new guidelines, and I am expecting that we will have more opportunities to worship, perhaps without the need for weekly registrations. Please be on the lookout next week for those updates. This weekend, we are launching a new series Heretic: Understanding Misguided Beliefs. I will be talking about the belief that Jesus is a good moral teacher but not the Son of God. We will explore why Christians believe in the divinity of Jesus and what is at stake for us in this belief. It is a perfect series for new people who might be skeptical about faith but curious to explore some of these questions. Take a second and share the series with them.

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