There is no doubt that there are many things that we do right here at First Church, and Children and Youth Ministries are certainly at the top of the list. Time and time again, members hold up our Children and Youth Ministries with enthusiastic pride. Kudos to Rev. Casey Orr for all she did for the recent Confirmands and to Kat Bair, Director of Youth Ministries, who is instrumental in guiding these sixth-graders and our older youth on their continuing faith journey.
I want to spotlight Director of Children’s Ministries Mister Mark and his amazing Children’s Ministries team of staff and volunteers for all they do for the children here at FUMCFW. Mister Mark is a gifted educator who is passionate about making sure that these little people come to “know and experience God through the loving message of Jesus and the stories from the Bible.” Children’s Academy Sunday School utilizes such creative approaches — art, puppetry, therapy dogs, Legos, music — to teach lifelong lessons. Once again, quoting Mister Mark, “As our children grow in their understanding of God’s ever-present love, they will learn to live responsibly with others, to show respect for all life, and know that they are children of God.”
The learning continues during the 11:00 traditional worship service. There are the incredible backpacks and the “Faith Like a Child” time. You certainly don’t have to be a child to enjoy and learn from this weekly message.
I am excited that in the very near future an additional item will be included in the backpack — an offering envelope! I hope our parents will see this as an opportunity to reinforce the concept of generosity and stewardship.
In visiting with members about giving, several recalled the joy they experienced as a child when they placed their offering envelope in the plate. Janet Ball, Financial Secretary, shares the story of one of our youth members who turned in a weekly offering envelope starting as a young child and continued throughout her teen years. Her name written in a childlike print always brought a smile to Janet’s face but also made an impression on her in the way of how this young person demonstrated her love for God consistently. I am quite hopeful that this young woman will carry this discipleship practice throughout her adult life and pass it on to her children.
Thanks to the efforts of church staff, parents, and volunteers, we are training First Church’s future lay leaders, and maybe even a future pastor, in the spiritual practices which are vital to a church’s well-being. In knowing what our children and youth are learning and applying in the way of discipleship, I look forward to being a part of this church in 20 years and enjoying the many fruits of such labor.
As a member who never personally experienced or interacted with Children’s and Youth Ministries as a parent, I value and celebrate these ministries. Thank you for making them possible through your unbounded generosity!