Jun 032016
 

We are excited to have your incoming Kindergartener join us in the Elementary classrooms beginning Sunday, June 5th! We know it’ll be the start of what might be a busy week and want to help your child transition go well.  Over the next few days we’ll publish four posts to help you guide your child as he or she begins this new phase. We’ll be answering questions your child might have about classrooms, lessons, and teachers. We’ll also include plenty of photos for you to show your child.

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This is a photo of me with my Crossing Kids interns. You’ll see Megann and Brittany around this summer, and meet Jennifer and Ashley in August. (Left to Right: Jennifer, Abby (me), Megann, Ashley, Brittany)

 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Dear Kindergartener,

My name is Abby and I’m the Elementary Director for Crossing Kids.  That’s just a fancy way of saying that I get to work with Elementary kids and volunteers each week.  I am so excited that you will be joining us in Kindergarten starting this Sunday, June 5th! I know that moving classrooms and going to Kindergarten can be a little scary, but I think you’ll love it! You’ll stay with the same group of kids you’ve been with, but you will move classrooms and meet new volunteers. Your new classroom will be downstairs, so be sure to ask your parents if you can go down the slide instead of taking the stairs!

You’ll meet all sorts of people who can help you when you are downstairs.  In your classrooms you’ll have team leaders who will be in your class most weeks.  There will also be other volunteers who want to play with you and teach you more about God.  If you are ever sick, hurt, or really upset your leaders can come get me and I’ll be happy to help you.

You might be wondering, is Kindergarten like Preschool? And the answer is, yes! Just like in your preschool rooms you’ll have toys to play with, snacks to eat, go to Large Group, make crafts, and play games.  Because you are growing up some things will be different. This summer we’ll teach you some sign language to help you learn more about God, and lots of other things too!  In Kindergarten Large Group looks a little different, but you’ll get to know the large group teachers throughout the summer.  And do you know what? You’ll still get to see some of your Large Group friends! That’s right! You’ll get to see Candace, Courtney, and Kristin throughout the next few weeks!

Here is the classroom routine for this summer:

  • Welcome and free-play
  • Worship, Lesson and Discussion in the Large Group room (you get to sit on huge blankets!)
  • Activity in the classroom
  • Snack, free-play, and check-out

I am looking forward to seeing you on Sunday! Kindergarten will be a wonderful time, and I will be praying that you continue learning more about God, and learn to love him more too.  See you in a few days!

Sincerely,

Abby McClelland

Jun 022016
 

We are excited to have your incoming Kindergartener join us in the Elementary classrooms beginning Sunday, June 5th! We know it’ll be the start of what might be a busy week and want to help your child transition go well.  Over the next few days we’ll publish four posts to help you guide your child as he or she begins this new phase. We’ll be answering questions your child might have about classrooms, lessons, and teachers. We’ll also include plenty of photos for you to show your child.

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Moving to Kindergarten means you’ll be meeting new volunteers.  This summer we have a group of people who are excited to welcome you to the Kindergarten classrooms. Let’s meet them!

8:00 Team Leader-Brian Cooksey

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Brian has three kids, and one will be in Kindergarten. His wife’s name is Beka, and you’ll get to see her too because she teaches Large Group!  Want to know something cool? Brian is the brother of some of your favorite Large Group teachers, Kristin and Courtney!

 

 

 

9:30 Kindergarten A Team Leader—Tricia Morgan

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Tricia started helping in Crossing Kids this past year and is a ton of fun to be around.  She has a one year old Lab puppy that she does agility with for fun. Which means that they do jumps, teeter totters, tunnels, and all kinds of fun things like you see dogs do on TV. Tricia always has a smile on her face and looks forward to her weeks in Crossing Kids.

 

 

9:30 Kindergarten B Team Leaders—Ben and Allison Nelson

BFAMILYen and Allison two daughters, and one will be entering Kindergarten. During the school year they teach lessons in the classroom, and we’re lucky to have them helping in Kindergarten this summer.

 

 

 

11:00 Kindergarten Team Leader—Carly Love

_MG_6682Carly loves kids, but do you know what else she loves? Doughnuts!  That’s right, Carly works at Harold’s Doughnuts, and it’s her job to make everything look yummy! You’ll have to ask her about it!

 

 

 

 

These special people will be in your classrooms most weeks.  They will help you have fun, teach you about God, and help make Crossing Kids a great place to be.  See you on Sunday!

 

Jun 012016
 

We are excited to have your incoming Kindergartener join us in the Elementary classrooms beginning Sunday, June 5th! We know it’ll be the start of what might be a busy week and want to help your child transition go well.  Over the next few days we’ll publish four posts to help you guide your child as he or she begins this new phase. We’ll be answering questions your child might have about classrooms, lessons, and teachers. We’ll also include plenty of photos for you to show your child.

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Large Group is often the highlight of a preschooler’s Sunday, but in Elementary Large Group will look a little different.  This summer as incoming Kindergarteners transition, Large Group will have a similar format, yet be pretty different.

Will t_DSH5007here be puppets?

No. Elementary Large Group doesn’t have puppets, but there will still be live music many Sundays, and plenty of singing!

Will my child still have a lesson in Large Group?

Yes! This summer Kindergarten-5th graders will be learning about the Apostle’s Creed, and for the summer the lesson will happen in Large Group, just like in preschool.  After worship there will be a teacher teaching about a different piece of the creed each week.  We’ll even start the summer simply learning what a creed is.  Students will be engaged through through sign language, videos, and images to help them learn the Apostle’s Creed, and end their Large Group time by turning and answering a few questions with other kids and volunteers.  The coolest part about summer Large Group is that kids get to sit on huge blankets!

_DSH4994Will older kids be with Kindergarten in the Large Group room?

Yes. This summer we’ll combine grades for Large Group, but kids always sit on the same blankets as their volunteers and classmates.  At 8:00 Kindergarten-5th grade will be combined, and at 9:30 and 11:00 we’ll have a for Kindergarten-2nd graders, and room for 3rd-5th graders.

Will the Large Group teachers be the same people from preschool?

Yes and no.  Kindergarteners will certainly recognize faces from preschool (Candace, Courtney, and Kristin will be faces that are familiar to them,) but kids will meet new teachers throughout the summer.

Scroll for more photos of Elementary Large Group!

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May 312016
 

We are excited to have your incoming Kindergartener join us in the Elementary classrooms beginning Sunday, June 5th! We know it’ll be the start of what might be a busy week and want to help your child transition go well.  Over the next few days we’ll publish four posts to help you guide your child as he or she begins this new phase. We’ll be answering questions your child might have about classrooms, lessons, and teachers. We’ll also include plenty of photos for you to show your child.

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One of the fun things about transitioning to the Elementary Classrooms is that all of our rooms are downstairs, which means more opportunities to use the big red slide.  Downstairs we have two hallways, one for Kindergarten-2nd Grade, and one for 3rd-5th grade.

At 8:00 and 11:00 we have one Kindergarten classroom, which is the first room on the right.  At 9:30 students will be divided into two groups, A and B, just like they are in Preschool.  The rooms are right next to each other, so just look at your child’s name tag and the sign by the door so you know where to go.

What do we love about our Elementary Classrooms? Each classroom is equipped with Legos, blocks, books, games, paper, crayons, and more! Each classroom also has a TV because sometimes during the school year we show videos for part of the lesson.  Be sure to show the photos below to your Kindergartener before Sunday morning!

Kindergarten A classroom (used at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00)

Kindergarten A classroom (used at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00)

 

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Kindergarten B classroom (used at 9:30)

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The restrooms are the end of the hallway. Kids just need to ask a volunteer to walk them down.

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We have water fountains outside the restrooms. The one on the right is magical…you don’t have to press a button for the water to come out!

Kindergarten A toy shelves

We have plenty of toys for kids to play with, and books to read!

 

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Volunteers love playing games with kids

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This kitchen will be a summer favorite in our A room!

 

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Kids love to draw/color during free-play

 

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Learning about worship

 

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Both Kindergarten rooms have blocks to play with during free-play

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Twister is always a hit

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See you soon!

Feb 022016
 

lent

Growing up in a liturgical church setting, Lent was a somber time of contemplation.  Ashes crossed foreheads.  The hymn selection on the old pipe organ only included minor, dissonant sounding chords.  Black cloth draped the altar.  Items were given up.  I remember hearing many of my friends complaining about unsingable melodies and the number of services they attended during Holy Week.  While I kept my mouth shut about how I really felt, Good Friday, was actually one of my favorite days of the year.

For a long time, saying so made me feel a little bit guilty and morbid.  Sure I loved watching the sunrise through stained glass windows on Easter and hearing Lutheran voices belting out “He is risen indeed” with more emotion and joy than you’d hear the congregation use all year long.  But what I found equally, if not more, compelling was the quiet reverence and aching sorrow that echoed as each station of the cross was described.  The realness of my sin exposed.  The penalty willingly endured and paid for by Immanuel–God with us.  Even from a young age, I realized that Easter only came through Good Friday.  Both equally necessary for redemption to occur.

Lent in many ways has gotten a bad wrap.  The idea of giving something up for the 40+ days before Easter in some ways has become highly ritualistic and unattached from what the season really is about.  People abstain from certain foods or vices with a desire not to draw closer to God, but to lose weight, be a better person, or even as a way to earn forgiveness.  Others attempt to sacrifice because of a desire to win the approval of man or from a distorted view of obligation.  On the other extreme, Easter in many ways has become a holiday for consumers.  Jelly beans, eggs, and bunnies encourage us to bypass the crucifixion and instead focus on cultural icons tied more closely to sugar and spring than anything else.

The truth is, Lent is about the gospel.  It is…

…a time for us to slow down and focus on the work of Christ.

…a season to repent from sin and trust in His work on the cross. 

….a reminder that the empty tomb only comes through the cross.

…meant to help us prepare ourselves for the joy of the resurrection as we enter into the sorrow and pain that came first.

…a reminder that we live in the “already, but not yet.” 

Lent lasts 40 days excluding Sundays, which makes it about 46 days altogether.  This season, we invite your family to participate in a weekly devotional designed to help prepare your family to celebrate the fullness of what Easter truly is.  Each week, you will participate in a brief scripture reading, discussion, and prayer time.  At the end, you will use candles to remember the darkness of sin and later, the living hope of Easter. Instead of lighting a candle like we might do during Advent, we will extinguish a candle each week as we contemplate the brokenness of sin and Jesus’ journey toward the cross.  During the last week, we will relight all 7 candles as a way to celebrate the promise both of the resurrection and what it ultimately points to—the day when Jesus returns to make all things new. You can pick up a copy of the devotional along with a set of seven tea lights while supplies last at the Crossing Kids registration area.  You can also download the devotional here.

Since Lent may be a new season for you or a season desperately in need of redemption given your past experiences with it, we have provided a list of additional reading that might help you better understand its significance. Please know that we are praying for you as you help your family contemplate and prepare this season.

Dec 052015
 

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There are so many things my husband, Nathan, and I find ourselves regretting that we do or say as parents. But, one that I’m fairly confident we will not regret is taking the time to read to our children–especially books that encourage them to have a bigger, truer view of our God. Over the past year or so, we’ve really enjoyed reading the five devotional-type books below with our kids, ages 4, 6, and 8 at the time. (We’ve also used and liked these 7 great children’s Bible story books in the past.)

Do we read the Bible or a devotional every night with our children? Well, honestly, no. Some nights mom and dad are just too spent. But, on the whole over the years, we’ve tried to gather regularly before bed and read and pray together. One of the sweet results of this routine is that my kids expect it and even remind us at times. I hope and pray this translates to a personal love for and discipline in reading God’s Word as adults.

An important side note for parents who haven’t started this routine yet or feel intimidated: From my 15 professional years experience in children’s ministry, it’s NEVER too late to start reading the Bible or devotional books to your kids. If you’ve never started this routine or feel intimidated by the thought, don’t be discouraged. Talk with your children about the books below and maybe involve them in the decision about which one or two to begin with. And maybe explain to them that you can all learn together (I know I certainly learned a lot from the books below!). You do not have to have all the answers for your kids in order to read about God to them. I am convinced our children will remember most of all our example and heart for the Lord, rather than what we did and didn’t read or what we know and don’t know!

Some of these devotionals below are more appropriate for younger or older ages, as I’ve indicated. We’ve found one way to engage our older child is to have him read the devotional out loud to the younger children when using a “younger kid” book. We’ve also noticed that the 4-year-old really gleans more than we think when reading the “big kid” ones, and he’s learning to sit still and listen for longer and longer stretches as a result. So, don’t be afraid to try some of these with a wide variety of ages.

Here are five of our favorite devotional books and why, in no particular order. May God bless your desire to teach your children about the One who created them and loves them more than we can imagine. 

  1. Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family by Jessica Thompson

Exploring Grace Together

Exploring Grace Together is one of the best devotionals I have run across for elementary-aged children. As Thompson makes clear in this book, “Children need more than behavior modification. They need the gospel.” And what I love most about this devotional is that each chapter uses a simple scenario or story of an elementary-aged child who is facing something (a trial, a temptation, a battle with sin, disappointment, a chance to serve others, etc) and how he/she can practically apply gospel-truths to his/her situation. Then, Thompson includes three outstanding comprehension and application questions at the end for parents and kids to discuss. Bravo Jessica Thompson for a well-done, grace-centered family devotional!

2) Everything a Child Should Know About God by Kenneth N. Taylor

Everything a Child Should Know About God

Everything a Child Should Know About God is probably most appropriate for ages 3-6, but older and younger children will certainly benefit from this simple yet profound children’s book of systematic theology. In each chapter, the book addresses a question about God, Jesus, Salvation, The Bible, Christian living and more, providing an engaging illustration and a clear, age-appropriate answer. Even adults can learn from this clear-cut look at the basics of Christianity.

3) The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden by Kevin DeYoung

The Biggest Story

The Biggest Story is intended for ages 5-8 (as a read aloud) and ages 8-11 (as a “read to myself” book). My four-year-old enjoyed and followed along just fine, though. This devotional book will give your family a view of the Bible from 10,000 feet, so to speak–helping you to see how God’s plan of redemption through Jesus for his people is the main theme of the entire Bible from beginning to end. I would say the very best part of this “big picture” story Bible are the illustrations by Don Clark. We had several in-depth conversations about what the symbols on each page might mean and how they connect to the story. I have found my non-reader and young reader thumbing through the book on their own several times.

4) Mighty Acts of God: A Family Bible Storybook by Starr Meade

Mighty Acts of God

Mighty Acts of God claims to be for ages 8 and up, but from our experience, ages 5 or 6 and up can participate. Instead of focusing on Bible characters in each story like many children’s Bibles, each of these 90 Bible stories focus on a particular character trait or truth about God. Each God-focused Bible story is “retold in lively, modern-day language from a Reformed perspective”. My 8-year-old, in fact, read the entire thing on his own after we read it aloud a few times. He was fascinated by all the background information included that helped him grasp more of the context of each story. Although I felt like the application questions at the end of each chapter were a bit cumbersome (and the easiest for parents to lead), overall the book is worth buying and reading.

5) Little Pilgrim’s Progress: From John Bunyan’s Classic by Helen L. Taylor

Little Pilgrim's Progress

This children’s simplified rendition of John Bunyan’s classic isn’t new. In fact, it’s been around for over 55 years, and we’ve already read it twice in our family. The reason for its popularity is that it’s both “a simple adventure story and a profound allegory of the Christian journey through life”. This delightful read, which my children (it’s especially exciting to boys) adamantly requested night after night, filled our hearts with a message almost all ages (probably ages 4 and up) can understand and remember. We were literally crying together in the last chapters as our friend Christian finally makes it to the Celestial City. Little Pilgrim’s Progress has also inspired many spiritual conversations in the car, around the dinner table, etc. A must read for all children (and adults)!

Parents, have you used a great family devotional with your kids? Please share below!

Dec 012015
 

I’ve seen posts all day about how today is called “Giving Tuesday”. It’s a day set aside on the calendar after we’ve spent all weekend shopping on ourselves and loved ones to think of others and “give”. In some ways this struck me as a little backwards.

But I was already convicted on Monday as I read this devotional below with my two teenage boys. We’ve been reading this book every day as I drive them to school throughout 2015 and there have been so many times where I kept thinking of God’s word to me in it all day long. This one in particular lasted more than a day.

Below is what we read in One Year of Dinner Table Devotions by Nancie Guthrie. (Yes, we are using a dinner devotional for the drive time, but it’s short and sweet and perfect for the time we have. Plus my boys like it.)

Getting and Giving

This is the season our mailboxes are filled with stacks of mail-order catalogs. Through their colorful pictures and creative words, they seek to convince us that we don’t have enough stuff – that we need more, newer, better. They go beyond supplying our needs; they appeal to our greed – the desire to get and keep more than we really need.

We have a choice. We can give in to greed and keep collecting more stuff and spending more money on ourselves. Or we can break out of the cycle of believing the lie that more will satisfy us. How? By giving. The only way to do battle with the greed in our hearts is to give – to become outrageous givers. God can turn greedy, grasping, fearful hoarders into generous, honest, trustworthy givers.

To become givers, we have to decide not to listen to the voice inside us that asks, “If I let this go, who will take care of me? What will satisfy me?” We have to face our fear that God will not be able to take care of us, protect us, or at least make sure we maintain the lifestyle we think we need to make us happy. We tell ourselves the truth about God – that because he has been so generous in giving us Jesus, we can be confident that he will give us everything we need. We take him at his word that he can satisfy us and that he will bless us as we give to others. We test his promise that it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

“Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give!” Proverbs 21:26

“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Luke 12;15

“You can be sure that no immoral, impure or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” Ephesians 5:5

A few discussion starters:

What do you find yourself dreaming of getting? What do you find yourself dreaming of giving?

When have you experienced or observed someone else enjoying the happiness that comes from outrageous giving?

What does our green or generosity say about what we think of God?

So are you with me? Was your heart struck as mine was by how much I’ve been thinking about what to buy myself or my kids verses what can I give or who can I give to? The verses alone are enough to cut to the heart but then you add my answers to the questions and I’m done.

So what can we do to help our kids think more about giving than getting this Christmas?  One way you can fight this greed in your kids is to give them opportunities to give and learn about giving. Here are a few ideas but I’d love to hear any others you have.

Visit the tables in the foyer and help your kids pick out an organization and specific gift to give through Equipping the Saints.

Find a neighbor or friend who has a need and meet it.

Join us tomorrow night at our Family Christmas Celebration (December 2nd at 6:30 pm) we will be talking all about generosity as well as wrapping up a few gifts for others. We’ll also be sending you home with a Generosity Jar so your family can think more about how to “give” to others.

Ask your kids. I’m sure they have some ideas but just need help figuring out how to make it a reality.

For me personally, I just hear about a new book coming out soon called Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch. I plan to purchase, read and apply some of what I learn with my own kids. Click here for  a short write up about this book.

May God give us all a heart that wants to give more than we want to get. It is far more blessed to give than receive.

Nov 172015
 

Growing up I don’t really remember receiving thank you notes, and I am certain I rarely never gave them. As I entered the adult world I began to both send and receive them, and it never ceases to amaze me how powerful a thank you note can be.  This could be for the bad, like the time I got a thank you note more than a year after I gave someone a gift, or the time I found a thank you note shoved in a student’s chair pocket when he was supposed to take it home weeks prior.  Luckily, these situations are rare and thank you notes usually have a positive result.

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 When a High School school student who worked in my classroom for two different years graduated she wrote me a thank you note.  A conversation could never have expressed what was said in that card.

When I taught 2nd grade an extremely quiet boy wrote me a thank you card at Christmas.  It hung on my fridge for 3 years.

At the end of Night Crossing, a 5th grade girl gave one of her leaders a thank you note.  The note was read with tears, and then read aloud to others.  It brought joy to more than just the recipient.

 

So as Thanksgiving approaches and we take time to truly remember what we are thankful for, why not find ways cultivate thankful hearts in our homes?  This November have your kids make a list of people who have impacted them in recent months, and write cards to those people.  You can even go a step farther and have your family pray for these people (read Kristin’s Praying Hands Turkey post here), then mail the notes…you know, stamps, envelopes.

Here are some people to consider…

  • Teachers
  • Grandparents
  • Doctors
  • Crossing Kids volunteers
  • Babysitters
  • Friends who recently came to play
  • Coaches

A thankful heart can be an overflow of the grace and love we have in Christ, and I can’t think of a better way to teach this to kids than by a hands on approach that will bless others.

Oct 222015
 

As a Crossing Kids volunteer and mother of two toddlers, I am learning firsthand the joys and hardships that come along with a growing and developing child. After reading Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson this past summer with our Crossing Kids Interns, I was able to better connect the message of the Gospel with raising and working with children through a grace-centered approach. I would like to share with you some applicable truths that have begun to transform my heart towards children.

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  1. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. No one is perfect at keeping the ‘law,’ especially a developing child trying to navigate a broken world. The only perfect record-keeper was Jesus Christ. None of us are ‘good’ and Give them Grace frankly states, Our children aren’t innately good, and we shouldn’t tell them that they are. But they are loved and if they truly believe that, his love will transform them.”
  2. Don’t confuse outward obedience with Christian righteousness. We would be missing the point of the Gospel if all we cared about was how children acted on the outside. We would never want our kids to think that their works would lead to salvation. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone. No amount of goodness can lead to salvation.
  3. The ‘good’ children (who always follow the rules and want to people-please) can actually be the ones who need to hear the message of the Gospel more than the rule-breaking children. They may often struggle with pride, judging, and false idols. Their self-reliance may hinder them from not seeing their need for Jesus. Whereas the ‘bad’ children (who struggle openly with sin, temptations, and often identity issues), may be able to more easily see God’s grace and forgiveness during hard times and rest in the hope that He wants to give. After all, Jesus loved being around these types of people most.
  4. Salvation is of the Lord. Let us rest in the beautiful gift that our children’s salvation is not up to us and our ‘works’ with them. It isn’t about what we do right or wrong during our interactions. Let us rejoice in this burden being lifted. However, know that by serving in Crossing Kids, you are making yourself available for God to use you as a means to show children grace, forgiveness, and understanding.

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As I close, I do want to acknowledge that rules/law are pivotal in children’s lives. To ignore instruction, training and discipline would be irresponsible and apathetic. Giving grace to children involves keeping order and sanity in the Crossing Kids hallways, but by readjusting your perspective to a more gospel-centered approach, it can help show children (and all of us adults too!) more about God’s unwavering, grace-filled love for those who believe in Him.

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Oct 122015
 

This post was previously published on October 8, 2014.  We thought it would be wonderful to share again!

A mission statement is a brief description of our fundamental purpose. It answers the question, “Why do we exist?” So in Crossing Kids our mission is “to partner with families to help kids develop a lifetime relationship with Jesus.”

It is important for our leaders and every volunteer that serves in Crossing Kids to understand and know what we value. These values shape every Sunday, Tuesday morning and Wednesday night. They drive the decisions we make about curriculum, activities, music and family events. They help us accomplish our mission.

blog (families in hallway)Our values are:

Partnering with Families

  • The church must partner with families, because God intends kids to learn in context of family relationships.
  • Two combined influences make a greater impact than two separate influences.

blog (teaching)Targeting the Heart

  • God’s Word teaches that behavior is rooted in the heart.  Therefore, we want children to have a heart to follow God, not just go through outward motions.
  • Teaching must focus on cultivating a heart that loves God and trusts His promises above all else, rather than just seeking to change behavior.

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God-Centered, Grace-Centered Teaching

  • Teaching must be centered on God’s Word.
  • Teaching must focus on the gospel of God’s grace as the primary motivation for obeying Christ.
  • Teaching must be application-oriented, rather than just imparting knowledge.

blog (relationships)Relationships with Others

  • Relationships with others in the church are an essential component for spiritual growth.
  • Learning and relationships should always be in a safe, caring and comfortable environment for children.

blog (serving)Serving

  • We must teach children that everything we have is given to us from God and should be used to bring Him glory.
  • We must provide opportunities for children to express their faith through serving, giving, and reaching out to others both inside and outside the church.

blog (kid friendly)Kid-Relevant Teaching and Programs

  • Teaching must be appropriate to a child’s physical, social, cognitive, and spiritual development.
  • Different children have different learning styles, so we must teach in a variety of creative ways.
  • We must seek to understand a child’s cultural influences and relate to that culture, while never compromising biblical truth.
  • Our standards must meet the level of quality and excellence expected by those outside the church.

Sometimes it is easier to see what a value means when we share a personal story. Some of our volunteers shared a few ways they have seen our values on Sunday morning so I wanted to share them with you.

God-centered, grace-centered teaching:

Recently in my Women’s group study they were discussing the Bible as one big story about God that included the creation, fall, redemption and restoration.  Someone asked if we had ever heard the Bible described in that way and I couldn’t help but say yes, we spent an entire year focusing on creation, fall, redemption and restoration in Crossing Kids last year.  What an amazing gift to the children of our church that they are able to learn deep theological ideas at such a young age so they study the Bible and learn about God through the correct lens.

My husband and I being retired educators are constantly amazed at the wonderful, brain-based lessons that the children are exposed to at the Crossing.  Comparing these lessons to the worksheets our now-grown children had growing up, we just marvel at what these children at the Crossing are being exposed to.  And it’s clear that the children are learning and remembering.  The bible stories along with the concepts about them that these  children retain amaze us each week! Surely the parents of these children are taking the take-home sheets seriously, but the lessons themselves are so memorable!  What a great combination!

Targeting the heart:

The approach that Crossing kids has taken has targeted the heart, but more importantly the souls of the children and kept them interested. Sure we go through motions.  Songs with motions, prayers, and routines.  But all of these, from what I have witnessed, are done with the purpose of praising God.

Relationships with others:

Recently witnessed a volunteer that was with us in 2nd grade and is now in other half of 3rd grade class sought out a girl to give her card that included a note and picture of them together during our slumber party with the 2nd graders last year.  I thought it was such a thoughtful yet simple way to show this young girl that she is loved, thought of and being prayed for.

This is my favorite one.  Every week, we see the same kids, and week after week and we get to know them get to know their parents too, but largely the kids.  We know their strengths and struggles.  We know their moods and quirks.   Most importantly we know their hearts.  Children are so open and trusting, and even more honest.  They allow themselves to be just that when they are with us…themselves.  Even more sometimes I think than they are with Mom and Dad.

Whether you are a new volunteer or have been serving in our ministry for years, it is always good to remind ourselves of why we do what we do. I shared more about this topic here.

Please join us in praying that God would help us accomplish our mission and values and be honored in the process.