Sunday, September 6, 2009

Touching Base! Part 52

Family Ministry Update
Fall 2009

Well fall is here, and with it we have some new and exciting changes in our children’s Sunday morning programming.

You may or may not have noticed that our new signs are up indicating where are preschool and elementary programs are taking place.

Our Nursery is for our little ones ages 0-2 years. It is in the same room as always. Simone Wylie is our Nursery Coordinator and continues to do a great job organizing the schedule, and we have some changes that we are planning to implement in the near future.

Waumba Land is the new name for our “Juniors for Jesus” program.
“Waumba” means Creator in Swahili.
So, Waumba Land, means the land of the Creator.

We want the children coming out of Waumba Land to understand that:
God made them,
God loves them and
Jesus wants to be their friend forever.

We have begun the transformation in this room but it is still not finished so you will have to bear with us as we complete it this fall.

This Sunday morning environment is for our JK/SK kids (4 and 5 year olds). Please note the change in ages…..the Juniors for Jesus program was geared to our 3 and 4 year olds…Waumba Land is geared to our 4 and 5 year olds. Children in SK this year will continue stay in the Waumba Land room.

So if you are following along…you are probably wondering well what about the 3 year olds?

Age 3 is a “flex” year: those kids who are ready for a structured program can join the Waumba Land program, and those who aren’t ready for a structured program and would rather play can stay in the Nursery.

The vision is to be able to offer a separate program for our 2 and 3 year olds. Numbers and the availability of new volunteers will dictate how soon we begin to implement this vision.

I’m really excited about the teaching team we have in place for our Waumba Land program. They are a group of competent women and 1 man who are really interested in teaching our preschoolers about God. Please encourage them and pray for them.

And of course we want to be intentional about empowering parents because we believe that what happens at home is more important than what happens at church so every month we will be emailing our parents a resource that will help you to reinforce and continue teaching throughout the week what we will be teaching on Sundays.

Next up, UPSTREET!
Upstreet is the new name for our Sunday morning environment for our elementary aged children in grades 1-6. When you come to the UpStreet area, you enter a “city street”, creating the feel of a neighborhood where children learn biblical truths in an engaging, age-appropriate way, and build quality friendships with other kids and adult leaders.

Upstreet is built around three primary biblical virtues:

We are also making the grade 6 year a “flex” year. If your child is in grade 6 this year, they have the option of participating in our program or they are also free to join Doug and Maureen Brown’s Sunday school class.

We have been busy redecorating our downstairs to have a ‘street-like’ feel.
And have also been trying to build and strengthen the structure of what the previous interim children’s ministry director Pam Briand has put into place.
We are continuing to use the same curriculum but are hoping to be more strategic and intentional with it. So we have divided up the responsibilities for this ministry into Large Group and Small Group. We are looking for volunteers in both of these areas.

Caroline Cuthbert and me are the current Large Group coordinators and Candice Laframboise is the Small Group coordinator. We are looking for volunteers for both of these areas.

Our Large Group teaching time is looking for volunteers who like to teach in a large group setting. They enjoy doing drama, being upfront and don’t mind memorizing moderate amounts of lines. It requires varying amounts of commitment.

Our Small Group time is looking for volunteers who have a heart for mentoring a small group of children. In order to deepen the level of intimacy and ministry, we are trying to set up 2 leaders per 6-8 children which requires a commitment of every other week.

We realize that this is a big commitment but let me explain why we think this is crucial: as children move more towards independence in their elementary and high school years, it is very important that there be other voices speaking into their lives that are saying the same thing that their parents are saying. In order for that to happen, there needs to be relationships and building those relationships take time.

We live in a culture that is fighting for the hearts of children…we need to fight back and I believe that strengthening our small group ministry in the elementary ages is a powerful way to do that.

If you would like to make an eternal difference in the lives of a handful of children please talk to Candice Laframboise. We are still looking for small group leaders.

This is a wonderful ministry for our teens and university students. We are praying that our September 13th ministry fair will inspire this age group to get involved. We do need more mature leaders as well because our students are only here for part of the year.

Of course, like the Waumba Land ministry, we want to be intentional about empowering parents because we believe that what happens at home is more important than what happens at church, so every week we will be emailing our parents a resource that will help you to reinforce and continue teaching through the week what we are teaching on Sunday. If you would like to take advantage of this resource, make sure we have your email address.

If you have any questions about our Upstreet programs, or would like to volunteer in our Large Group or Small Group areas, please talk to myself, Caroline Cuthbert, or Candice Laframboise.

If you are interested in volunteering in the Nursery, speak with Simone Wylie.

If the emerging vision of having a program for our 2-3 year olds in Waumba Land interests you, please contact me.

I’m really excited about the teams we have so far for our Sunday morning children’s programs. We have some excellent leaders at Bethel with some great organizational skills and a real heart for God. Please encourage them and pray for them.

Finally, I would like to say thank you to those who have already given countless hours of painting, redecorating, and volunteering in leadership roles. Without them, I just wouldn’t be able to tell you about these exciting changes.

As we head into this year, I really covet your prayers for all these new initiatives. I believe there are some exciting days ahead, but I also know that we are in a battle. The enemy wants the hearts of our children and is looking for ways to destroy families. This kind of spiritual war can only be fought with the powerful prayers of God’s people.

Because children and families matter,
Jamie Stinson
Family Ministries Director
Bethel Church

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