This coming Sunday will be one of bittersweet emotion. I will be celebrating my 250th Sunday in ministry as I announce a transition coming in my own personal life.
I started working at GFC the Sunday after my 21st birthday, almost 5 years ago. It's been a roller coaster of joy, growth, challenge, and development; and my ministry experience here has taught me to strive to love people, God, and the church well. It's been my first real ministry job, and I've had the priviledge of serving alongside some amazing volunteers, families, and a staff who have encouraged me to grow and let God use my gifts & talents for his kingdom.
About a week ago I formally accepted a job offer from Crossroads Christian Church in Gray, and as long as their congregation expresses their approval on Sunday, my last Sunday here at Grace will be September 22, and I will begin serving as the Children's Minister at Crossroads on October 1st. It's a transition that truthfully makes me excited and terrified all at the same time. I could never begin to express in words how much my faith family here at GFC means to me. This church has blessed me, taught me, and played a huge role in developing me into the woman I am today. It's been a joy and a delight to grow up with the famlies at GFC & watch my first kindergarten class prepare to leave elementary ministry now as 4th graders. Your children have blessed me, your student leaders amazed me, and it brings a joy-felt tear to my eye to think about the kids who have articulated their faith and taken their next faith step in baptism throughout the course of my time here at GFC. There is something special about sharing 250 Sundays & 5 years worth of love and investment in a congregation, and I will always cherish the memories and ministry at GFC.
As the roller coaster speeds on, I know with full confidence that God would not call me to go without a beautiful plan in mind for continued growth in his kingdom & I'm thrilled to continue serving and loving his Church in the bigger, broader sense. Like we talked about in elementary last Sunday, I know "I can be brave even when I don't feel ready," because I serve a big God who lives within me and made the world around me, and I can trust him no matter what.
I'm excitedly following where God calls me to go, and I have no doubt that he has orchestrated the steps before me. At the crossroads I stand, and to Crossroads I'll go, fully anticipating the work and harvest yet to come. Your prayers, encouragement, and support will continue to mean a lot to me through the transition, and again... GFCers, the way you've blessed me over the last 5 years speaks of the work of Christ within you & it has been a delight to serve and celebrate the love of Christ with you for the last 250 Sundays.
Here I am... sitting on the edge overlooking the beginning of my fourth and final year of seminary. It's kind of surreal. How did I get here? Where did the time go?
It seems like just yesterday I swore I would never go to seminary because it is the land of the super-nerd, the place where all people lacking social skills unite forces and try to find a coherent sentence amongst themselves. (Yes, I actually said that verbatim to my mom once...)
Yet here I am, my super-nerdom is almost certifiably complete, and I am incredibly grateful for the experience. Emmanuel has been a beautiful place of formation, a place where many coherent sentences challenged me to think, evaluate, and love the church with a heart and a passion I didn't think was possible. The experience formed me in a way I didn't expect.
God is in the business of forming people in unexpected ways though...
...Like Noah? God told him to build in ark in the land of no rain & then chill out on their football stadium-sized raft through the biggest squall the earth had ever known with a floating zoo & his immediate family. He didn't always get it right, but props to him on being obedient when God sounded crazy.
...Like Abraham? God promised him a huge family, and literally called him to offer the son he had hoped and dreamed of on an altar. When he proved his obedience, God provided a way out.
...Like Paul? He literally went on a holy tirade thinking that killing Christians was what God wanted him to do before God met him on the road and pointed him in the right direction, only then becoming the greatest Christian missionary the world has ever known.
For me, I know that God quietly and stilly called me to obey and go to seminary, the land of the super-nerd, even though at the time I had no idea how it would all turn out. As I look at the year ahead, I'm filled with a humble thankfulness. I am already beginning to see the amazing things he has done in the rear-view, and how he has formed me and prepared me well for the days ahead.
We all have a natural craving for peace. Whether that’s the Miss America sense of “world peace,” peace of mind, or an authentic inner peace that passes understanding–the kind of peace where all the pieces of the puzzle fit together to form this artful masterpiece of things finding their cause and meaning.
Over the summer, we’re taking the opportunity to talk about God’s big story of peace in elementary ministry at GFC:
…how there’s this big God who spoke the world into being, carefully crafting a magnificent paradise where we were created to live in perfect peace.
…how humanity failed in living peaceably and broke God’s one rule and we are now part of a broken world that continues to fall short of how God originally designed us to live.
…how we tried all kinds of wrong ways to make it right: laws, judges, kings, how it all left us craving the peace we were created for, yet had no solution to on our own.
…We will talk about Jesus, the promised prince of peace, and how he came as the one and only solution to reconcile humanity with God because Jesus’ perfect sacrifice covers all of our imperfection, and that through our faith in Jesus we will be able to live in peace with him forever.
…We will talk about how that faith in Jesus is the most important part of life, because that is where life is abundant and real and worth living.
…We’ll talk about how we are called to be continual storytellers of God’s good news so that others can know of God’s crazy big love for the world and how they, too, can live in peace with him one day.
It is cool to piece all the little stories together and look through the lens of peace to see the whole Bible as one big story.
But there’s tension. Tension a ten year old can’t quite grasp yet, because “one day” isn’t today. This craving to live in peace “one day” has no instant gratification guarantee. Maybe “one day” isn’t tomorrow, five years from now, or even 20 years from now. Maybe it is… but the reality of things is that we aren’t there yet – we can’t live in God’s perfect peace because our world is still broken. We wait in hopeful, eager anticipation, longing for things to be as they should, longing for reunion with our creator. We do the best we can to fill our days of anticipation as ambassadors of God’s peace – as people on a mission, sharing God’s love & good news, doing our best to live in true, authentic, godly peace.
Some days I think we get a glimpse of God’s perfect peace, like in those moments where we see parts of the jigsaw puzzle fit together. I know I need those reminders to fuel my soul and refresh my faith. I need those reminders to get as excited as my elementary students do when they piece elements of God’s story together for the first time. I’m personally excited to celebrate baptism with my faith family this weekend at GFC – it’s always one of those puzzle-fitting-together kind of days, because there is nothing quite as beautiful as a kid verbalizing their faith in Christ.
Even grown-ups need subtle reminders to nudge us on and encourage us when we become discontent in the “not there yet” groaning within us …because when the day comes, and peace reigns, oh what a day that will be.
About a month ago I embraced the opportunity to do something few children’s ministers dare…
I took a Sunday off.
Actually, I took a whole weekend off with these lovely ladies:
We celebrated 10 years of friendship. 10 years. (this is the part where you as the reader go, “OOh, 10 years, that’s rare!” … not “Did you know each other from the cradle?” … because the answer is no, we met in high school, and we might have taken turns pulling gray hairs from each other’s heads throughout the weekend.)
These three beautiful women of God have been some of my closest friends since we met 10 years ago and started walking life together as crazy high school girls in the same youth group. Our friendships have grown and changed over the years. We currently live hundreds of miles apart. There are three godly husbands, two beautiful babies, demanding jobs, a dog, some apartment rats, and an eternal student in the mix. We are all in different seasons of life, and we generally stink at updating each other on the little details of life on a consistent basis.
…but we share that rare & blessed kind of friendship where you not only pick up where you left off, but you quickly find vulnerability and depth as you share, understand, and challenge the growth and spiritual formation of each other. The kind of friendship that we’ve each made long-term investments in because it’s a small beautiful representation of something much bigger.
We belong to a community rooted in something far deeper than the continuously changing circumstances of our lives – we belong to the body of Christ, and our relationships with Christ fuel our love and friendship.
We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
1 John 4 is a goldmine of wisdom on this kind of love, but the longer I stay friends with these girls and submit myself to the same kind of Christian community with college friends and seminary peeps, the more I’m convinced that these kinds of relationships are a spiritual discipline.
Community is something we have to be intentional about, especially as the pace of life seems to speed up and our culture teaches us to focus on our individual selves. Community is a discipline that requires us to slow down, make time, and create priority space within our hearts for the people around us. It forms us deeply, even when we don’t see it happening.
Community gets personal. In the midst of mundane everyday life stuff, we encounter the rough edges of people with their guard down. We face the choice to love with the love of Christ, or show our rough edges in return… and sometimes those two choices find their chosenness at the same time because they aren’t mutually exclusive. Community is messy, it’s beautiful, it’s formative, and it’s only with a fair amount of hindsight that you begin to notice how the rough edges get smoothed over time by the people you share life with.
I’m learning to love community. It breaks me down and builds me up. It makes me vulnerable and calls me to love others because Jesus first loved us. In this chapter of my life, I’ve noticed that community is where I see God and experience God most vividly.
I see his faithfulness through Marissa & the pot of fresh coffee that greets me each morning before class.
I see his loving-kindness through Meredith & her well-timed letters of encouragement.
I experience his hospitality in the duplex, where doors are never locked, and there is always a couch or a seat at the dinner table where I am welcome to unwind and stay awhile.
I watch his grace unfold in Christine’s almost sisterhood, where I’m allowed to have a bad day, vent, and laugh about it… in my roommate, Carly, who makes a pot of tea and after we’ve both worked a full day, and sits down beside me at the kitchen table as we both try to catch up on school work until our brains can bear no more and we throw the towel in.
I could talk for days about the way I experience God through his people, through my Christian family, through the people in my community. They are constant reminders of God’s work in the world and God’s work in my life. For this chapter of my life, they are where I meet God outside of my own intellectual effort and role on a church staff.
[Yes, reading scripture is important. Yes, prayer is important. Yes, to corporate worship, solitude, service, reflection, and everything else found in the table of contents in Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline]
…but here is my additional, resounding YES to community and it’s beautiful role in our spiritual formation. It is a spiritual discipline. It takes practice.
I need a new closet...
ok... this is not actually my closet, it's Katherine Heigl's from the movie, 27 Dresses.]
Though my closet doesn’t look exactly like this, it does contain a section occupied only by bridesmaid dresses. This summer will mark the 8th wedding I’ve excitedly played a supporting role in, but don’t worry – this blog post does NOT contain the expected pining of a single girl blabbering about her dream of one day walking down the aisle in white… though one day I do hope it will happen, today’s post has absolutely nothing to do with that…
It has to do with academia and the church.
Here’s the back story: I was sitting in class earlier this morning and a guest lecturer drew a comparison between bridesmaids and brides with academics and the church, and I thought, “GOSH, I know a LOT about being a bridesmaid and I LOVE the church… hmmm…Maybe they do work together in the same kind of way?!”
Here’s what I’ve experienced: bridesmaids stand beside and support a bride. We are her cheerleaders who plan celebrations, parties, and showers. We often assemble invitations and adhere a million address stickers onto dainty envelopes. We brag on the bride. We comment on her beauty. We stealthily resolve problems on the big day that we hope the bride never hears about. We work together for her good, for her sanity. We even take the awkward servant’s position and shield our eyes as we hold up her dress in a tiny bathroom stall. We walk down an aisle before her, preparing a crowd for her coming, and we tangibly show our love and support as we stand beside her with a joy-filled smile and the occasional heart-felt tear. We toast to the blessing of the newlywed couple, and we even try to fix the getaway car when the groomsmen plaster cheeky phrases and anatomy on the windows.
Academics should strive for the same kinds of things in the life of the church. Those of us blessed and crazy enough to continue our theological training should do all we can to stand beside and support the Church. We should be her cheerleaders who encourage and celebrate new life as we see the hand of God working and active through the love of the church body. We should work hard behind the scenes to make sure all are invited and that the language of the invitation is phrased in a way that helps the church express the gospel with clarity and truth. We should brag on the church’s beauty, working together for her good. We should humbly serve in positions behind the scenes and take measures to uphold the church’s dignity. As we stand beside her in our worship, we should do so with a joy-filled smile and the occasional heart-felt tear. As we gather around the table, we should gratefully remember the sacrifice that binds us together and toast to the continued blessing of the church body.
We should invest our heart, mind, and soul in the support of the church as we stand beside her. So why does it seem that academics are generally among the first to become overly critical of the church? Why are we the first to point out the groomsmen’s failings, flaws, misspellings, and generally bad artwork? Maybe it is because we have been trained to defend our faith and write books-worth of papers that articulate the preciseness of our faith. I think that maybe, perhaps the real reason may be hidden within our own hearts, embedded in a gross kind of superiority complex.
(Eek! I said it… Maybe we academics aren’t as awesome as we like to think we are.)
We’re called to serve. We’re called to support. And, yes…we are called to edify and redirect when the church goes astray… but we are called to do so as we humbly stand beside her because we love her, not because we’ve got some narcissistic superiority complex .
I’m humbled to know several academics, professors, and pastors who do this well, and I strive to be a bridesmaid who learns to do this well.
So here it is – I raise my glass of sparkling cider [in my bridesmaid dress]
Cheers to fresh perspective and the humble love and support of something worth celebrating.
GO BIG ORANGE.
Ok, true confession – I don’t follow sports, like not even a little bit.
When I say GO BIG ORANGE, I’m talking about children’s ministry and a unique partnership we strive to form with parents. When you blend the light of the church [yellow] with the love and the passion of a family [red], you get this beautifully blended ministry partnership [orange
].Orange is how we like to do family ministry at GFC. We strive to do all we can to support parents in their role as the spiritual leaders of their children from birth through graduation. We even hope that we do it on purpose.
One of the orange-minded resources our elementary families love most are these things called God Time Cards. God Time Cards are a resource we make available to GFC elementary families for free.
Each week we send an email with an attached PDF containing 4 easy-to-use family devotionals designed to take what we teach Sunday a little deeper. They are simple, fun, and really practical. Parents continue to rave about them because they provide a clear snapshot of what their child learns each Sunday while supplying questions and materials to continue the conversation at home, so what kids are learning actually STICKS.
Over the last month, we took some advice from a dad & small group coach in our elementary ministry & made a plan to get the word out about this free resource for families. (trust me, you never want to be too busy to pause & listen to the wise council of a parent & involved volunteer – he was spot on, there were tons of families that didn’t know about the resource)
In the course of the last month of promotion, we’ve watched the list of parents who receive this weekly resource grow to almost 180 parents. 180 parents who took the time to stop and say, “Hey, I want to be a spiritual leader in our home and invest deeply in my child’s spiritual life & I’d love the support of our church in doing that.”
To me, it’s a day for a huge #kidmin victory dance. Connecting parents is always a win in children’s ministry, and the longer I experience ministry here at GFC, the more I grow to love our parents. They are the spiritual champions implanting the seeds of God’s truth & love into the next generation. As a church we should do all we can to support them.
GO BIG ORANGE!
Oh HEY big T word! You are beautifully ambiguous and intimidating.
Thank God for Merriam-Webster…
the·ol·o·gy: the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; especially: the study of God and of God’s relation to the world
Here’s what I know about theology: there are a lot of questions worth asking & the more answers you seek, the more questions you uncover.
I’ll be honest, sometimes the tendency to uncover more questions makes me want to bury my head in the sand & live contently in the land of the unknown. After all, simple childlike faith is what Jesus calls us to, right?
Sometimes I feel like we [church leaders/seminarians] do this:
…We over-complicate, we over-analyze, and we let the power of our own theological wrestling overtake the precedence of the gospel, the good news of the risen Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Don’t hear me wrongly, I’m a girl who really likes talking about theology. I like processing my own ponderings with wise & trusted council. I like wrestling through my beliefs about “religious faith, practice, and experience; especially: the study of God and of God’s relation to the world” with peers who listen openly & respond with care and interest as we’re all figuring this Christianity thing out together.
But, [yep, there had to be a "but"] as church leaders/seminarians, we can’t dwell in the land of the theoretical for long because we have been called to embody Christ’s message to a broken & hurting world today. Yes, in the past. Yes, in the future.
The theology we need is one we practice, one we embody. One we embody and practice as one body, one holy & apostolic church, alive and moving through his spirit… A theology that majors in the majors & minors in the minors, because the message of Christ’s gospel is so deeply and wholly the source to abundant life that we can’t afford to miss the opportunity to communicate that with our words and actions with every opportunity afforded to us.
There is huge value in discovering the heritage of Christianity & hearing how the voices of saints before us processed and communicated biblical truth in the context of their own time.
Education is formative.
Theological training and conversations are formative.
… the gospel, transformative.
[Paul says it best in 1 corinthians]
4 I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— 6 God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you.7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize,but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called,both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” [1 corinthians 1:4-31]
“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders & the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” [hebrews 12:1-3]
I have an overwhelming thankfulness for the people in my life, especially the ones who point me to the author and perfecter of my faith. I need their voices of wisdom & determination to remind me to focus and run with reckless abandon to the one who joyfully chose to embrace trial, not only for my sake, but also for the sake of those who chose to oppose him. I need their voices to remind me to stay faithful, stay the course, & run the race that is set before me.
Let’s be honest though, the word perseverance sounds awful. My face crinkles up in disgust when I put my own reality in connection with how the word translates as someone trying to live that out authentically. Perseverance means coping with the death of family members you were excited to share the holiday with. It means continuing in the refining trudge of singleness. It means shouldering & working toward big dreams with no clue how the big picture will work itself out. It means being ok with the unknown.
Actually, it means more than being ok with the unknown… it’s a process that extends beyond mere endurance, delving into the crazy territory of finding joy there. Finding joy in the land of the unknown is not easy. We grow weary and we lose heart when we lose our perspective.
Perspective is key. It’s the game changer between a persevering trudge & a joy-filled sense of hope and expectation. It depends on who we rely on for the outcome of what we hope and pray for. Here’s what I know of myself… when I depend upon my own strength & my own clever solutions for the outcome of my future, I usually end up disillusioned & trudgy because I am way too focused on myself. However, when I trust on the Lord with my whole heart & choose not to lean on my own understanding, acknowledging that God is way smarter than I am, he always makes the paths straight. Always. He never fails. He never leaves me hanging. He’s faithful. He calls for a refined perspective & a renewed sense of hope… He endured the trudge for the joy of what was before him, so why not follow suit, rest there, and choose joy?
… it’s a matter of perspective, and refining, and surrender, and time, and maturity… Yep, still thankful I’m not in it alone. How could anybody actually do it without community?
“Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, ‘Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.’ But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’” [matthew 26:6-13]
In the midst of the bustle of the holiday season, the week where all things scholastic are in dire need of writing, editing, and studying, I needed to hit pause. I needed pause. I am pausing here because I can’t imagine a better place to slow down and reflect.
This is a season in ministry and in seminary where we must give greatly of ourselves, yet it’s the season where I want nothing more than to chuck it all & sit at the feet of Jesus and give greatly & wholly of myself to him.
I sit in a different place than the woman esteemed by Jesus in this story. I don’t have an alabaster jar. I can’t physically pour my possession of greatest worth over the head of Jesus. Jesus has already been buried. There’s no preparation needed on my part there, yet things are different because he is always present & he’s risen.
He’s not present physically, but he presents himself all around me. He’s present in the lives of those in my community, in the joyful squeals of my elementary kiddos here at GFC, and also in the faces of the poor who are always with us. He’s present all around me; but unless I am intentional about my focus, I let him fade into the static white noise of busyness, the land where I call the shots and press on with the to-do list.
Today I choose to have eyes that focus on him. I’m ignoring the to-do list. I’m hitting pause & giving of myself fully to be present in his continual presence.
Our first real cold front hit Johnson City about 2 weeks ago, and the briskness of the air instantly made me think of the holidays. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Extra quality time with my family…
“Family” is something I mean in a big picture kind of way.
I treasure & love my immediate family. If you don’t know me well, I’ll happily share that I have 2 amazing parents who raised me to love & serve the Lord with everything I’ve got. They taught me that family is something worth investing yourself in. There are traditions and invested time I am looking forward to this holiday season with them. But one of the things my immediate family has instilled in me over the years is that there is a bigger concept of family.
As I say “family,” my heart means the bigger, broader, deeper kind of family that spans through the last 2,000 years of history. I mean the big family that identifies us all as brothers & sisters for the namesake of our savior, Jesus Christ. The holidays are a special time I cherish with our big faith family, especially with those who call GFC home.
Holidays all come with traditions, and one of the traditions that I am looking most forward to here at GFC is our big baptism celebration. In the rhythm of my last 4 years here at GFC, this baptism celebration usually falls right after Thanksgiving, as is the case on Sunday, November 25.
During both services at 9 & 10:45 we will all come together and worship as a big family (aka we strategically plan no Sunday morning ministry programming for Kindergarten-12th grade because we think it’s such an important time to be one united family). On that morning we’ll gather together for our parent-child dedication and a family baptism celebration.
We strategically set aside this kind of morning 3-4 times a year to cherish & recognize how our Grace family grows. We celebrate the newness of life, both as it begins in the flesh & as it begins in the Spirit. It’s a morning where pray and commit as a community to build each other up, supporting & encouraging each member in our church family as we grow physically & spiritually. We promise to come alongside each other. We celebrate the public declaration of faith in our body as kids, students, & adults follow in Christ’s example of baptism.
It’s a morning we celebrate life together and feel God’s Spirit alive & at work in our church family.
One of the parts I love most about my role in preparing for this special service is helping our K-6th graders express and verbalize their faith as they walk through the baptism preparation process. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes with our families who are preparing for this special mile marker in their child’s life. Here’s a few of those details…
We believe that parents are the spiritual leaders in the home, so at Grace Kids
we want to come alongside and support families each step of the way as each child readies themselves for baptism. When we hear of a child’s interest in baptism, we give each family a packet full of goodies: a letter from our Grace Kids team that shares our excitement, a DVD that guides each family through a clear conversation on Christ’s gospel message, a special workbook to help each child express why they are choosing to be baptized, and some other parental goodies that communicate what to expect next. Once a family works through all the goodies in the packet and feels that their child is ready for that next step of baptism, we get together and talk about it. A member of our Grace Kids staff sets up a meeting time to circle up with each family and we let each child express their faith and interest in being baptized. We talk through the Gospel and clarify what being baptized is all about. We then ask each child to write down their testimony and schedule a time to come in for an audio recording. (This is what the whole congregation hears as each child climbs into the baptistery).
At the end of each meeting I get the chance to tell our kids how much we love them & how excited we are as a church family to celebrate this big step in their faith. It’s a huge thing for a child to go public with their faith & though it’s not the finish line, it is a mile marker that we love celebrating with them. It’s an incredible moment we get to share and celebrate as one big growing faith family.