—by Kathryn Eriksen, Director of Children and Youth Ministries
This Sunday you will see a new Children’s and Youth Ministry Brochure on the Welcome Table. It has turned out beautifully, and I believe it clearly conveys the goals and purposes of our Children’s and Youth Ministries. Please be sure to take one and share with friends who may be interested in a vibrant, growing ministry for their families.
But as I read and re-read the proofs it struck me again that this ministry is truly bigger than the families with kids - this ministry belongs to the church family as a WHOLE!
I read a great article on the Gospel Coalition site by Mike McGarry, “Youth Ministry Feeds the Church and the Family.” It reminded me a lot of our own Children’s and Youth ministry goals. Mike reflects that, “In Deuteronomy 6, Moses wanted to ensure that the coming generations would remember their history and remain faithful. In the midst of God’s deliverance of Israel, it defies comprehension that parents would neglect teaching their children who the Lord was and what he had done for them. And yet, just two generations after leaving Egypt there ‘arose another generation after [Joshua’s] who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel’ (Judges 2:10).”
He continues by remarking that “The verbs ‘teach’ and ‘talk’ (Deut. 6:7) carry the force of commands—not merely to tell one’s children about the Lord, but to deliberately structure family life around worship such that his laws would be engraved on their hearts.”
I think most parents realize the incredible importance of this command and try diligently each day to speak God’s truth into the lives of their children. There are days when I feel prepared for and encouraged by conversations with my children and there are days where I feel completely overwhelmed with the task God has put before me and wonder why I was ever trusted with so great a responsibility.
What always stands as an encouragement to me is the fact that my family is a part of a covenant community that engages with my children deeply and with a tender love that continues to draw them closer to the Lord. The sentence in Mike McGarry’s article that made me smile was “the whole church should place a high value on welcoming the coming generations and encouraging them to meaningfully contribute to the life of the church.” It is my great honor to help walk beside parents in the raising of their families in my role as Children’s and Youth Ministry Director, but it is much more of a blessing to my family that I get to watch as so many of you pour into the lives of Rusty, me and our children.
With many changes on the horizon for this growing ministry and the life of our church, I sense the need to convey that this relationship of the WHOLE church body towards the coming generations is critical. There are so many ways to help mentor, disciple, teach, and encourage the 60 children and youth in our church. If you need help finding a way to connect please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.