It is our greatest desire to see you grow in Jesus Christ, not just as individuals, but as a family. There are many models of ministry in the Church today that segregate families by age and thus ultimately produce a church that is comprised of individuals or sub-groups of Believers. Jesus’ prayer for His Church is that we would be one, just as He and the Father are One. John 17:20-21 tells us, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” While it is often productive to have separate times of teaching based upon maturity levels, such as Sunday School Classes and Youth Group, it is also something to beware of. If we carry this into our time of worship and the preaching of God’s Word we can create a generation of selfish Believers who lack the ability to empathize with Christians of other generations who are a part of the same Body.
This is, in large part, what has happened to the American church of the 21st Century. We have become a disjointed group of people who demand personalized styles of worship and have lost our sense of connection and fellowship with the preceding generations. God has not assembled us as the “Body of Christ” to have us dissect ourselves according to artificial boundaries. Again, we see that the Bible speaks of unity and mutual edification; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.” Here we see not only generations being brought into harmony, but nationalities and social groups that were once at variance with each other. Can we not then maintain the integrity of a God ordained unit, the family?
We understand the unity and diversity of the Body and the fact that we have been called together for mutual edification. Therefore it is our goal as a local church, to strive after this model of ministry. But we also see the modern family and the philosophy of ministry that it has been reared in. That parents expect to have their families separated at church in order to get what they need out of the service. In doing this they are unwittingly sacrificing the unity of their families and of the larger Body of Christ.
In order to bridge this gap we have prayerfully devised a solution. We will maintain an optional Jr. Church Service for children from K – 4th Grade where we will work on preparing your child for participation in the regular Sunday services. We simultaneously encourage you as a parent to have a time of daily Family Bible Reading and Prayer. It is our goal to encourage the children to want to participate in the regular service, but we cannot do this without your help as a parent.
We will also provide short outlines of the pastor’s sermon for the children with blanks to fill in as they listen to the message. Again, we encourage your participation as a parent to help them with this and encourage them to follow along.
We do not expect that every child (or every adult for that matter) will get every concept from every sermon. But we will begin with progress in sitting and attentiveness and then look as they mature for greater comprehension. We simultaneously encourage you as a parent to have a time of daily Family Bible Reading and Prayer. This will not only teach them important truths about God and His Church, but give them a greater sense of being a part of the whole Body of Christ. It will help them appreciate the tastes and preferences of others in the Body and encourage them to be an active part in it. In order to assist you we have also encouraged other members of the congregation to look for opportunities to help with those families who may have multiple children.
Finally, we also understand that at times it may be difficult for you to follow while helping your child. We post audio from the messages to our church website (usually by the middle of that Sunday afternoon) where you can listen again. We also have a time of review and digging deeper on Sunday evenings which we encourage you to attend.
It is our prayerful desire that you will see the long-term benefit and the Biblical nature of this ministry model. And that you will also see that as you invest in your children and we invest in your family that God will bless and strengthen you as a unit. Finally that through the strength of your family that the larger Body of Christ would be benefited and the prayer of Christ for His Church would become a reality in our congregation.