Explaining Compassion and Justice to Kids

Social justice is a “trendy phrase” in the church.  But equipping the church to be mindful of the ways God calls us to faithfully live out biblical justice is so much more than an idea or catchy phrase to say.  Here are just a few of the ways we explain what it means to be on ‘mission with God’missional, and how we explain compassion and justice.

How we engage “Mission” with kids

At Quest Kids we are all about loving God, loving other people, and loving God’s world. Each of us can be a missionary in our own community. We have been given the special mission of sharing God’s love and shining God’s light in our schools and neighborhoods.  As disciples of Jesus, Jesus followers, we are invited to live as Jesus lived, love as Jesus loved, and share the good news of Jesus love with the people around us.  Really it is about participating in the work that God is already doing in the world- in our neighborhoods, schools, families, communities and everywhere.

Idea #1: Kids following God’s mission

We have friends around the world who are also following God’s mission. They are loving Jesus and sharing God’s love in their own communities!  We can ask God how he wants us to love people in our communities well.

Idea #2: What is God’s mission?

“To participate in mission is to participate in the movement of God’s love toward people, since God is a fountain of sending love.” – David J. Bosch in Transforming Mission

Idea #3: What does it mean to have compassion?

Having compassion is caring about people who are hurting.  We are aware of other people’s stories and pain or needs.  We are empathetic toward theirs stories, needs, or pains.

Think of this as a day-to-day question: What helps right now?

 Idea #4: What would justice look like for this group of people I am supporting?

Justice is asking what systems are creating the thing that is hurting people.

Think of this as a long-term question: What would help ten years down the road not have this problem anymore?

Idea #5: Other ways Quest Kids are “Kids Following God’s Mission”

  • We give to others. Our weekly offering goes to Covenant World Relief children’s projects.
  • We make friends with other kids following God’s mission around the world (Global Mission Partners)
  • We serve others.
  • We help our homeless friends in the community by making and giving out blessing bags.

What ways does your family follow the mission of God?

Scripture that remind us to in God’s mission, and not be on mission by ourselves!

indigenous people’s day

It’s Indigenous People’s Day today. Some of you may know it by it’s former name.  Columbus Day.  Maybe you were like me and you were told a piece of the story growing up.  You know, the part of the story where a brave man named Christopher Columbus discovered this land called “the americas”? Well, I finally put two and two together and realized that all those stories in my childhood of native people’s having their land taken from them, and Columbus were actually one and the same story, but with many half truths, lies, and some very important details taken out.  I finally realized that the land Columbus discovered and Europeans eventually took over, was the land that indigenous people had been living on and thriving in for hundreds if not thousands of years.  The conversations with my parents, about their generations’ games played like, “cowboys and indians”…it didn’t dawn on me how brutal and thoughtless those games were.  How did this get missed? [This one’s on my reading list.] But now I know and I can’t go back.  So here are a few things I’m committing to today [as in, for life].

  • If my kids watch Peter Pan, we will make sure to talk about the stereotypes of Native children also known as “lost boys” in the story.  We will talk about real chiefs and real indigenous female leaders.
  • We will not wear Native American clothing as “costumes”.  So that cute outfit my mom made for my daughter’s dress-up?  It resembles Native American clothing, of some time period (I’m not sure exactly) and if my daughter chooses to wear it, she will know what she’s wearing and whose story it belongs too.  She will hear about Native people’s in our own neighborhood and community.
  • We will be careful to not take tribal designs (clothing, textiles, handbags, jewelry) and claim them as our own.  We will honor them for whose they are and whose story they tell. That’s called cultural appropriation.
  • We watch this, and are amazed by the art of Matika Wilbur.
  • I will tell the stories of children of Native American/First Nations communities and the schools they were forced to attend, so when my kids hear about the challenges of life on the Reservations they will know that these communities have faced many hardships- generations of families broken apart, lack of systems that support, and emotional and psychological trauma that exceeds anything my children will probably ever face.
  • We will commit ourselves to seeing the beauty of creation that God made, and seeing the beauty of indigenous people’s cultures and traditions that keep them rooted in their identity.
  • We will read books, and books by Indigenous authors, not just books about “Native Americans” by non-native authors. Check out this list to start.
  • I will remember Richard Twiss and Wiconi International and pray for the ministry of Corey Greaves and Mending Wings.  I will thank my friend Lenore Three Stars for her wisdom and writing.
  • I will choose not to ignore the #NoDAPL.  Watch this.

It is Indigenous People’s Day.  But every day is a day for all people to be fully and completely themselves including indigenous people in this country.

A day in the life of a Kids Pastor: Reflections on story and finding hope

Sundays. Church days. Early mornings and long afternoons.  Sometimes I come home with a tired soul, a weary soul. Other days I come home elated. Grateful, thankful, amazed.  Most often it’s a mix of things.  But every week there are new stories, new prayers, new experiences that shape our church family.  This week was no exception.  Sometimes people wonder, what do Kids Director’s and Kids Pastors do on Sundays?  Especially if you are not in a classroom teaching.  These are the moments of my day I needed to reflect on.  These are the moments that remind me of my need for God and God’s powerful presence.  Here’s a snapshot of the day of  Kids Pastor.

Early morning prayer and prep.  Reading lessons in case I need to fill in for someone.  Walking through the list of things happening at church today: baby dedications, pastors visiting all the classrooms to pray a back to school blessing for every child, kids worship meeting, training new leaders, inviting kids to fill our chalk board wall with the names of their schools.  Prayer. Worship. Teaching. Small Groups.

The moment my feet cross the threshold of the church building- my spirit stirs.  I hear the worship team practicing- this week I let someone in who was running late- smiles and laughter mark the 60 second conversation.  I walk into the grade school chapel and greet our worship leader who is pouring over music and practicing for the day.  We talk about worship plans and things we left unplanned for the week.  We talk about changes and setting a meeting to finalize the new kids choir being put together.

I check with the tech team to fix an error I made in the week on an important announcement and I head to team prayer meetings.  Our Kids Staff gathers at 8. We are here.  We look at each other and take a deep breath- we are packing a lot of things into this “back to school” Sunday, anticipating over 200 kids at church this day.  Our teams are still short-handed and we wonder if our classrooms will be managed chaos or gardens of spiritual growth (probably a combination of the two).  We pray a prayer reminding ourselves that we are able because GOD is ABLE.

The leaders arrive and check-in begins.  Families trickle through the door- some with boundless energy others looking sleepy from whatever burdens they carry or late nights they experienced.  All are greeted with a “good morning” and a smile.  This is how it begins.

This Sunday in particular was filled with so many things.  At each service we dedicated a child- one, the child of our worship director which was powerful and emotional; the other was for a family that is moving away soon- bittersweet blessings and goodbyes.  I prayed a prayer of blessing over each child, listening for the spirit to direct my words as the congregation stretches their hands forward as a sign of coming alongside the family.  A few minutes after dedications, pastors and leaders laid hands on one of our staff who is moving out of state.  Another tearful goodbye.  We pray a blessing- believing good things are in store for the next chapter, while also mindful of a hole in our hearts for the deep impact this staff person carries on our lives.

The day continues. I race to the kids area to find a check-in computer spitting out blank white labels at will.  This is not what it is suppose to do!  Families are waiting in the hall with anxious and weary faces entertaining their toddlers.  A classroom is full and these parents are wondering- will my child be able to go to class?  Will I sit in the sanctuary with a squirmy child in my lap or a Bible in my lap?  We comfort and explain, we check and double check classrooms and do our best to make space for everyone.  So after resetting label printers and saying good-bye to relieved parents, I walk to our PreKinder class to share with them our exciting Tithes and Offerings project for the school year, “Kids Helping Kids: Peacemaking”.  Explaining tithe to 5 year olds is fun and funny.  Tithe is our gift to God!  “I have a quarter at home!” says a child.  I ask them what they know about fighting, not getting along, and sadness when hard things happen.  They know these things.  Fighting over toys, crying when you get hurt.  And God asks us to be peacemakers, so where there is fighting we are called to be helpers, when someone is sad we are called to be comforting.  When there are people doing good work in the world we can support that- sometimes by sharing money.  So that’s what our church does with our tithes.  We draw a connection between their experiences of fighting and sadness and communities in the world that fight- that’s war, and people groups that are sad because they are hungry or they don’t have houses to live in- there is poverty.  It cannot be a one time conversation- because there is so much to take in.  But these kids know. One little girl raised her hand and said, “my mom and I don’t have a home.  My mom had to leave.”  I knew her story and the family that has taken her in as refuge, and in that moment my heart cracked and also swelled because I know that there are good people in this sweet little girl’s life who are working for restoration in her family and for her especially.  In that room- we are nurturing little peace makers.

One little boy is lying face down on the floor- resisting encouragement to sit up and participate.  Another child is wandering around the back of his classroom, eyebrows knit together clearly upset to be at church this morning.  The wails coming out of the 1 year olds classroom echoed in the hallways.  It was a hard day for some of our babies.  There were three bloody noses at one of the services, but everyone recovered well, including the teachers who had to quickly respond to these incidents while managing a classroom of kids.  These are the things that volunteer Kids Ministry Leaders don’t always know they are signing up for.

I visit our 4th and 5th grade classroom where they are discussing the impact of Adam and Eve’s sin and separation from God.  One child astutely asks- do you think that because Adam and Eve left the garden, God put obstacles in their way to teach them when they try to rely on their own abilities they will become stronger?  Or does God put challenges in their way so they will fail and recognize they need him?  Another child says, well not that sin was a good thing, but it’s good that they had to work- work is a good thing for us, so we don’t get lazy.  As our small group leaders navigates the ins and outs of big questions and big ideas and swirling thoughts- we see kids thinking, wondering, trying to imagine and fill in the gaps of the stories.  Of course- we run out of time to have all our conversations tied up neatly- if that is even possible.  We did our best to remind the kids that the sin was to disobey God and eat the apple, but the greater sin and consequence of the Fall was separation from God.  Adam and Eve wanted to figure it out on their own- to be in charge of themselves, and that was not a part of God’s plan.  God had created them for community, and communion with their Creator.  This is what God pursues in restoring people to God’s self.

I was reminded of my own fallenness as I had a conversation with a parent who had showed up prepared to do something for kids ministry and I cancelled the opportunity without speaking to her first.  I recognized my own brokenness in that moment, trying to “make things work” and “make wise choices” which sometimes means I take control when I just need to let go.  It stuck with me for a while, and I had to return to the parent and ask for forgiveness.  Yes- we all make mistakes- even Kid’s Pastors.

As I walked through the area behind the sanctuary I saw one of our parents standing alone- and I walked right over.  This parent is part of a family that has lovingly opened their home to dear friends from out of state whose child is battling cancer.  And though they hold onto hope for a miracle- the family was saying their goodbyes and heading home for care.  It’s been a bloody and brutal battle and the prayer warriors and doctors have been fighting around the clock, and love has been showered out, and this little girl has demonstrated strength and resilience and joy beyond her precious eight years of life…but the burden is great, and not carried alone.  As I hugged this friend and we cried together, we sat with the hurt- reflecting on the unbearable pain it would be, were it one of our own children, empathetic pain for another parent.  How do we help? How do we pray? Why is cancer taking our babies?

Shortly after, I was stopped by a mom between services who asked if she could pray for me.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I never refuse.  She had sensed God asking her to pray for me as my youngest heads off to Kindergarten.  This was something that had been consuming my thoughts all week as we waited with anticipation for the start of the new school year.  I received the prayer- fully aware that God was ministering to me even as I was ministering to others.  I love that about God.

As the day was winding down and we were saying our goodbyes to kids for the week, a parent stopped by and dropped some heavy news.  Her husband had just left her.  They were okay for the moment but she was worried about her three kids and how they would manage this burden.  Oh God. Not another one.  With tears in our eyes, we talked about resumes and jobs and paying bills and buying groceries.  We prayed and made a plan to connect later in the week.  I looked up and was greeted by a another parent who is also walking through a difficult season of life.  I was reminded as I saw a small glimmer in her eyes- eyes that had once been hollow and empty- were showing signs of life.  We embraced with a knowing look that it was good to see her at church, even if it’s a struggle to show up.  She showed up and that was good.

I was gathering my things and looked up to see one of our volunteers who I had been hoping to connect with- she was free for coffee so we decided to have a spontaneous meet up.  We sat down for coffee and she began to share her life story.  Bits and pieces came out as she shared challenges and struggles and calling and gifts and passions she has been able to use and dreams she is seeking to fulfill.  As story after story of struggle and brokenness and hope and life were shared I was- once again- so acutely aware that this was sacred space, these were stories of pain and also of courage, of challenge and also resiliency.  What was seemingly impossible- was made possible.

I share these stories- as much for myself as for anyone who might read them.  Ministry in the church is often hard.  It is often painful.  People face really hard things.  And ministry in the church is also full of goodness and joy and hope.  Without masking pain, or hiding things, it is possible to share burdens and have hope.  It is possible to doubt God’s goodness, or wonder if God is present- while still allowing God to demonstrate God’s love.  Church is a place that holds both sorrow and rejoicing! We experience powerful connection to God through worship music – dancing, singing, arms wide-open in full surrender.  We experience encouragement in our faith by allowing others to share their faith and wisdom with us, to teach and guide us.  We are strengthened when we allow the church family to come alongside us and support us. We are recipients of God’s grace and unending love when we participate in communion- taking the bread and drinking the wine- marking us a followers of Jesus.

I close my eyes at the end of the day, heart cracked in many ways, but somehow still beating strong and blood flowing.  My reflection feels incomplete- there is something that I’m missing.  Maybe it’s something to do with strength.  Something to do with offering up all these people, these stories, these experiences of the day to God.  That God sees it all and knows it all and is still God over all.  Peacemaker.  God is the ultimate maker of peace.  I want to be a peace maker too.  My heart longs for families to be whole, for kids to have hearts turned toward Jesus- fully submitting to this God of love who will journey with them through all of life’s challenges and bring them to greatness as they walk with God.  My heart longs for healing and restoration.  My heart longs for hope to be stronger than defeat, for courage to be stronger than fear, for faith to be stronger than doubt.

This the anthem we are singing in our house these past few weeks.  It’s a banner that covers everything we say and do and experience.  Hakuna mungu kama wewe  – Swahili for there’s no one like Jesus. We sing it at the top of our lungs.  We dance.  We remember. We celebrate, there is no one, no one like our God.

This is Sunday.

My Journey to Kids Ministry

M101_0111y journey in KidMin began when I turned 10 or 11 and was allowed to volunteer in the church nursery on Wednesday nights.  I had sung on the kids worship team, memorized the books of the bible and the scripture memory booklet as fast as I could.  I knew the church layout backward and forward and could not wait to love on some little kids.  To serve, was the highest form of responsibility and ownership of my faith I could imagine.  To be trusted with the care of the church’s little ones.

After graduating from college, I was entrusted with my first kids ministry at Quest in Seattle, WA. This picture captures the first experience we had together, bonding outside of Sunday mornings. This VBS included the 4 kids from our church, 4 from the church across the parking lot (which would later become our own!), a handful of friends from the church planting community, and the kids that I nannied.  We were an eclectic mix, to say the least.  A lot has changed since 2003.  Our journey has been special, unique and unforgettable.

Quest-VBS-38

My favorite “shift” in ministry at Quest has been our growth to become a vibrant Children and Family Ministry.  It has not been so much about programs, but rather the ministry philosophy, and the way we view the work that is being done in the church, for and WITH children. We do not DO children’s ministry because the children need us.  God is always at work, our job is to simply come alongside God in God’s work.  As the Holy Spirit moves and stirs in a church, kids are in a great position to hear the voice of God and respond in worship.  We create environments and space for God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit.  By inviting kids to participate, we learn and grow together.

KidMin is a dynamic and changing culture in church ministry.  I believe within the next decade the church will move from seeing kids as the most vulnerable people in the worshipping community (though they will certainly be vulnerable) to the most valuable in the worshipping community as we move toward re-integrating them into the church body and allowing God to bless the church through their gifts and passions and dreams.  Keeping kids connected to their faith, when the world seems to draw them away from God at every corner, will mean providing space for their faith to be acknowledge as authentic, real, and a true gift to the church.

Quest Kids Vision and Purpose Statement

The 30,000 foot view of ministry to kids in a multi-ethnic church in Seattle, WA.

Our Kids and Family Ministry has evolved over the past 13 years.  Each year we reflect [briefly] on our vision and mission.  Because it is based off the larger church vision and mission, it doesn’t change too much!

We seek to Love God. Love Other People. Love God’s World. 

This was recently re-written to reflect our current ministry.

Purpose & Values

Quest Kids is a multi-ethnic, all abilities, and intergenerational ministry to and with children.  We seek to journey together to be transformed by God’s Spirit as we follow Jesus and grow in discipleship.  We are a diverse body; each created in God’s image and designed to worship God and be valued; to have a place and presence in the church community.

We believe that a child’s spiritual formation begins at home, and that it is the role of the church to assist parents/guardians in raising children to know and live for God. We are committed to each child’s spiritual growth throughout all aspects of our ministry. We provide a safe, nurturing environment with a structure of safety policies and volunteer accountability.

Through music, Scripture, prayer, fun and relationships, we hope to ignite a deep love for Christ in each child we serve.  In teaching the message of God’s love, salvation through Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, we help kids recognize their place in the big God Story.  Quest Kids seek to love God, love other people and pursue reconciliation in the world.

Getting Leaders Ready to Serve in KidMin

wood-top-keys-lockOne of the [many] keys to successfully keeping volunteer leaders involved in ministry with children and families is appropriate training.  First, we INSPIRE them to serve.  Then we EQUIP them to lead.  Lastly, we DEVELOP leaders (I am still learning how to do the last one well!)

Here is how we set our volunteer leaders up for success in Quest Kids:

ONE on ONE Meeting with Pastor or Director- 30-60 minutes

They are a person first, and we just want to be in relationship and know one another.  This takes a lot of time, but is well-worth the investment.

NEW LEADER ORIENTATION- 1 hour

Leader Orientation is a one hour meeting to review the Leader Handbook with all new volunteers.  This is a required training for all leaders, but if someone absolutely cannot make it to an evening or Sunday training, we send the handbook home with them and have them return a “Read Receipt”.

IN-CLASS TRAINING

It is a great idea to let a new leader shadow in a specific classroom or age group before they commit to it.  Also, pairing them with a seasoned ministry leader is a good idea if you can.  We have created a simple, one page leader guide for each of our classrooms that reminds leaders of their roles (i.e. diaper changing, prepping/serving snacks, where to access the volunteer schedule or Bible lessons, and Sunday morning schedule, etc.).  This ensures all leaders are getting the same information as they begin serving with a specific age group.

KEEPING KIDS SAFE WORKSHOP
- 3 hours

Keeping Kids Safe is our Child Abuse Prevention and Safety Training offered several times each year.  This is a required training for all KidMin leaders, done at their earliest convenience (within first year of volunteering).  KKS dates are announced several months in advance of the training.

ALL LEADER GATHERING- 90-120 minutes

Once every 12-18 months we hold an all leader gathering for visioning, prayer, and encouragement of our Quest Kids Team.  All KidMin leaders are strongly encouraged to attend this event.

Creating Family Ministry Safety Policies

 

We have created several policies for children and family ministry over the years.  Here is a checklist of important policies every church should have, be working on, or at least planning for.  We recommend consulting your churches lawyer, insurance agent or other safety professional already connected to your church community.

  • Volunteer Leader Handbook for Kids Ministry and/or Youth Ministry- both should have their own!
  • Volunteer Leader Handbook- version for the youth involved in Kids Ministry
  • Health & Wellness (Sick) Policy
  • Allergy Policy
  • Photo/Video Permission
  • Emergency Procedures- Church evacuation plan, earthquake, fire, etc.
  • Child Abuse Prevention Policy

We give every new volunteer a Leader Handbook, ask them to read it and sign the last page and return it to us.  Most of our volunteers are able to make it to our New Leader Orientation offered monthly, but at the very least they are all getting the handbook and learning important information about the ministry vision, volunteer expectations, policies, and reporting procedures.

If you would like to preview a sample of our church’s policies, please email childrensministry@seattlequest.org

 

 

Teaching Children About Race: Parent Resource

This is a resource we created for Quest Kids and Family Ministry

“When I walked into the classroom, the kids were seated at their desks, eager to get started with the special presentation.  After the teacher introduced me, I handed a puzzle piece to each student in the class.  As I began my spiel about how diversity is like a puzzle, I noticed that the children in the back of the class were busily working on something rather than paying attention to me.  They chattered with excitement as they passed objects back and forth between them. 

 I asked what they were doing, and they announced, “We’re putting it together!” When I asked them why, they said, “It’s a puzzle.  The pieces are supposed to go together.   It doesn’t make any sense if we don’t put all our pieces together.”

Standing in the classroom, I realized that these children from different backgrounds were teaching me.  They didn’t need instruction about the importance of coming together, they instinctively knew that our individual pieces “don’t make sense” unless they come together with other pieces of different shapes, sizes and colors.  They understood that they were interdependent, and they eagerly collaborated with each other so they could see the bigger picture.  To do anything less just wouldn’t have made sense.”

pg 85, A Credible Witness, Brenda Salter McNeil

Moms & Dads, Caregivers and Grandparents: A Credible Witness is a great read, among many other book & resources suggestions here!

Ephesians 2:14

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”

Galatians 3:26-28,

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

What is racism?

  • The practice of discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance of another race based on the belief that claims to find racial difference in character, intelligence, morality
  • The assertion of the superiority of one race over another.

Is it our goal to teach children to be colorblind?

  • Being colorblind means to not attach value to color.
  • It is confusing to tell our kids not to see our color differences.
  • The will see color.
  • We need to teach our children not to make value judgments about people based on their color.

How can we accomplish this with our children?

Be disciples to our children

  • Pray for God’s kingdom- it is multiethnic, multinational, and multilingual.  Our goal is to point children towards Christ’s kingdom.
  • Interact with anyone who is different.
  • Encourage our children to play with children from different races.

Be models of Reconciliation

  • Parents are to be aware of your own subtle disparities.
  • What you say and how you behave toward those of another race will shape your children.
  • Be models of reconciliation.

Get out of our comfort zone

  • Interact with people who are different.
  • Let your kids play with kids from different races.
  • Lead children to appreciate and learn from our differences.
  • Help children to value others.

Take Active Steps

  • Expose your children to different cultures.  Learn about their foods, festivals, costumes, language and games.
  • Encourage your child to invite someone racially different over to play.
  • Never make jokes about other races.
  • Reach out to people who are of a different race than you.
  • Extend an invitation to your home for a meal, or to church to worship together
  • Get to know other people’s stories.  Learn about who they are, where they are from, and what they love.

More active steps

  • Teach your child about his/her own ethnic heritage.
  • Help them to recognize their own diversities even within the race.
  • Affirm children’s ethnic heritage.
  • Encourage schools and church to teach racial reconciliation.
  • Find multiethnic media- public library and websites, etc.
  • If our parents or grandparents say a racist joke, have the courage to say, “I don’t believe that’s the best Christian approach.”
  • We can tell our children that Grandpa was wrong for telling ugly jokes: “I hope you’ll never make remarks like that.  Grandpa grew up in a time when many people were prejudiced against other races.  These are wrong attitudes.”

The most common misconception about racial identity?

  • People are afraid that racial reconciliation means sameness.  They think they have to give up who they are.
  • Christians think that because we do not harbor prejudice or act bitter, that people will just want to be with us.  We have to reach out to invite others into genuine, caring, and authentic relationships.  People will know if it isn’t real, so don’t force it!

 

 

The Decision to Go Back to School

When I graduated college, I had a plan. 

Get a job. Get some ministry experience.  Go back to school. Somewhere along the way I was going to start a family and write a children’s book series about the Bible with a specific multicultural lens.

Yeah, about our plans.  They don’t usually happen the way we think they will, do they?

Isaiah 55:3, 8-9 “Listen and come to me. Pay attention to me. Then you will live. I will make a covenant with you that will last forever. I will give you my faithful love…“My thoughts are not like your thoughts. And your ways are not like my ways,”
announces the Lord. “The heavens are higher than the earth. And my ways are higher than your ways. My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

After four years, falling in love with my job and faith community, I left Children’s Ministry to start a family.  My husband and I, yet again, had a plan.  I would stay at home with the kids and get back into ministry when they were older.  Open-ended discussion.  I loved being at home with my newborn son, but it wasn’t long before my heart was beating again for children and family ministry in the church.  After prayer and struggle and identity crisis, I returned to my church and began ministry, now as a mom.  By the time I returned, my second child was born and the 3rd trailed not far behind.

Going to seminary became a distant dream…until one season where I began to address some fear issues (thanks church community, you really like to break me out of my comfort zone don’t you?!).  Suddenly when my fear was laid bare on the table, there only seemed to be one response:

COURAGE.

Reflecting on how God was asking me to be courageous led to a one year process of pursing licensing with our denomination, Evangelical Covenant.  I am now the Associate Pastor of Children and Family Ministry at Quest Church  my home for the past 12 years.  Due to working with the best staff ever, and a fantastic team in Children & Family Ministry , I serve part-time at church and enjoy “work at home mom” status half-time.  Continuing the pattern of courageous baby steps, I’m returning to school part time in Fall 2014 for the MDiv program at Seattle Pacific Seminary.  My alma mater.

Proverbs 4:11-13, I instruct you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.

When I graduated, God had a plan. I am along for the ride.

More on the journey to come!

Kids Ministry Leader Role Descriptions

It takes FOREVER to write succinct job descriptions for ministry positions in the church. Something that will quickly tell a person what the job is, what they will need to know or prepare and how much time in their week will it require. Here is what we’ve come up with for ministry. It is continually getting re-drafted!

 

Team Coordinator

Coordinate Lessons, Schedules or Volunteer/Classroom care for a specific ministry age group. Mid-week responsibilites might include volunteer scheduling, or lesson planning, or connecting with KidMin leaders. Once a month, supervise a Sunday service in Kids Ministry. Work with Pastor and Director to lead in a specific ministry area. Time commitment 2-3 hours/week and quarterly Team Coordinator gathering.

Hosting

Arrive 20 minutes early to help with Family Check-in and direct kids to classrooms and Large Group areas.  Answer questions and assist visitors and newcomers. Time commitment: 45 minutes on Sundays.

Worship

Volunteer weekly at one service. Lead kids in singing songs at beginning of lesson times. (Instruments optional, CDs’ in all classrooms) Meet quarterly with other worship leaders. Time commitment: 2 hours/week.

AV/Sound

Help run technology for preK-Grade School ministry weekly at one service. Time commitment: 2 hours/week.

Early Childhood Ministry Positions (ages 0-3)

Nursery Leaders

Volunteer weekly to monthly. Arrive 20 minutes before service begins (to set-up classroom). Play with and hold babies, feed and change diapers. Time commitment: 2 hours/week.

Lead Teacher

Volunteer weekly. Arrive 30 minutes before service begins. Plan and prepare lessons, oversee class schedule & flow, lead short Bible story, lesson, craft & snack times, direct other volunteers in assisting with activities. Time commitment: 2-3 hours/week.

Assistant

Volunteer weekly to monthly. Arrive 20 minutes before service. Play with kids, help lead teacher with activities. Time commitment: 2 hours/week.

 

PreK-Kindergarten Ministry Positions (ages 4-6)

Large Group Leader

Volunteer two-four times a month. Arrive 20 minutes before service begins for KidMin leader prayer time. Lead large group gathering time of prayer, scripture, and story telling of the Big God Story. Provide support to small group leaders during small group time. Time Commitment: 3-4 hours/week.

Small Group Leader

Volunteer weekly. Arrive 20 minutes before service begins for KidMin leader prayer time. Interact with kids before worship through conversation and small group Activities. Assist large group leader during worship and teaching time by helping kids stay engaged. Lead small group time of crafts, snacks and lesson discussion. Time commitment: 3 hours/week.

Parent Partner

Volunteer 1-2 times/month. Arrive 20 minutes before service begins for KidMin leader prayer time. Assist kids and leaders with needs and activities such as bathroom breaks, snack prep, craft assisting. Time commitment: 2 hours/week.

Grade School Ministry Positions (1st-5th grade)

Large Group Leader

Volunteer two-four times a month. Arrive 20 minutes before service begins for KidMin leader prayer time. Lead large group gathering time of prayer, scripture, and story telling of the Big God Story. Help kids connect bible truths to their everyday life. Provide support to small group leaders during small group time. Time Commitment: 3-4 hours/week.

Small Group Leader

Volunteer weekly. Arrive 20 minutes before service begins for KidMin leader prayer time. Interact with kids before worship through games, conversation and Small Group Activities. Assist large group leader during worship and teaching time by helping kids stay engaged. Lead small group discussion & activities after Big God Story. Time commitment: 3 hours/week.

Parent Partner

Volunteer 1-2 times/month. Arrive 20 minutes before service begins for KidMin leader prayer time. Assist kids and leaders with needs and activities such as bathroom breaks, snack prep, craft assisting. Time commitment: 2 hours/week.

 

Other Ways to Volunteer 

Office Volunteer

Provide administrative support to the daily workings of CFM through curriculum organizing and prepping, working on volunteer schedules, event planning and support for volunteer recruiting and training. Fun projects include birthday cards, making flyers and FB advertising, publishing blog posts, creating video and picture slideshows, and keeping bulletin boards current. 5-10 hrs/week

Special Events

Help with planning and prep for special events as needed. Not usually more than a couple hours a week in any given season, and 4-6 hours on a special event day.

Childcare Coordinating

Help coordinate childcare for moms groups and church-wide meetings/events.