(In a previous post, I had shared about all the opportunities of time we have to expose our children from babies up to youth to the Gospel. This is part 2 of our Children’s focus on our Ready for the Future emphasis.)
This is Eli.
Eli is a typical 2 year old who has been a part of our church family since practically before he was born. This is a list of all the people in the last year, not two years…but just in the last year, 2015, who have been part of Eli’s life through Candies Creek.
Janice Sprayberry, Josh and Lauren Jolley, Kim Burnette, Tina Parker, Stephanie West, Freddie and Karen Bryson, Felicia McAlister, TIm Cooke, Megan Simpson, Trish Scroggins, Tommy and Kelly Allison, Scotty and Marilyn Smith, Dana Work, Patricia Kyle, Shannon and Skylar Kelly…
Because Eli is in preschool, he is learning that church is a place where PEOPLE LOVE YOU, and he will form his first impressions of what the church is…to Eli, THE CHURCH IS PEOPLE. And although he probably doesn’t consider that these people are getting him Ready for the Future, he KNOWS they love him, read to him from the Bible and pray with him and for him.
Now, let’s look at the PEOPLE in the life of a 4th grader…Brooklyn. In just the past year 2015, here are the teachers, adults, and youth from Candies Creek who have been a significant part of her life. People who have shared their faith, been rich in good works and have helped her parents build a a good foundation for Brooklyn’s future.
Katherine Shubert, Brenda Carroll, Connie Hamilton, Andra Griffey, Jim and Elaine Booher, Amy Martin, Janice Sprayberry, Hollie Strickland, Taylor Lopez, Paula Missinne, Teresa and Jacqueline Rush, Madison Vaughn, Richie Kerley, Jeff Sprayberry, Christy Johns, Rhonda and Megan Jolley, Sara Black, Andrew Markham, Trent Johns, Taylor Cavett, Jordan Lopez, Jennifer Grosskruetz and dozens in Vacation Bible School.
Now if you ask any of these people, and this is just a FRACTION, of the people involved in Preschool and Children’s Ministry, they will deny being any kind of special person or super Christian. But to children like Brooklyn and Eli, they are mentors and examples of who Christ is. Children’s Ministry volunteers are constantly “rich in good works, generous and ready to share as they prepare the foundation” for these children to one day lead the church and share the Gospel.
The sheer scope of TIME & PEOPLE involved in this ministry is inspiring isn’t it?
How do you measure the investment a church family has in a child? Do you measure in hours, times in Children’s church? Gospel presentations, Bible verses memorized, VBS crafts made and hung on the refrigerator, tithes and offerings, involvement ad education in missions?…..Yes, maybe ALL OF THAT is a piece of what a church family as a whole is trying to do to get them Ready for the Future, for future service in Christ.
Paul tells Timothy to “guard the deposit entrusted to you”. Within the Preschool and Children’s ministry of Candies Creek we will always need people to guard the truths of the Gospel and pass it on. We will always seek those who have the heart and calling and who are willing to do so. Children’s ministry will serve families and their children, because we desire to see them “take hold of that which is truly life”. And that is only possible through knowing Christ. As I Corinthians 3:11 says, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is in Christ Jesus.”
When looking for a place to serve or raise your family, you might follow steps similar to that of preparing a foundation for the building of a home. You pick a site and investigate the soil and surrounding area. Is the condition of the soil good? You survey the lot, evaluate and measure the space. Will this land hold up over time? You begin to dig…and here is the hard work in going deep and then deeper, it is not enough to just scratch the surface. Next you will install the footings. This is your firm base and foundation. It will not just hold the house above the ground, it will resist movement of the earth around it. And then seal the footings. Seal the footings to keep out the moisture and insulate against the cold. Neglect any of these steps of preparing the foundation and you could experience failure. So it is with this spiritual foundation we are laying upon Jesus Christ in preschoolers and children. We need good soil, a place where they can thrive, a commitment to Christ and His church through time and stability. It requires us to reach for deeper growth so that the foundation of faithfulness will hold up against the shifting of culture around them. Then we pray they will be sealed with the Holy Spirit, so that sin and darkness cannot be permitted to cause them to fail.
Candies Creek Kids hopes to begin a foundation that will be added to and continued on in Student Ministry, even beyond, as we are preparing them to be Ready for the Future. We desire to “guard this deposit” and we INVITE YOU to be ready to share and store up treasure with us as we lay this foundation of Jesus Christ through TIME & PEOPLE in preschool and children’s ministry.