Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian,
In a time when many of our churches are aging out existence and struggling to attract young people, we had 19 children (8 in the nursery!) in church yesterday–more than a third (closing in on half) of our total worship attendance. So how do we keep the promises made at baptism when our children (all under age 12) threaten to outnumber the adults?
It does not seem at this time that we are able to create and sustain a traditional Sunday School program, but I am working with some colleagues and church members on a plan to make sure we offer consistent Christian education and formation opportunities for our pre-school, elementary and middle school members.
I am calling on all of our members to engage in some way over the next year in working with and caring for our children. This may involve telling a story to the pre-schoolers during church, attending an event with our middle schoolers, leading a Bible study, playing a game or simply being present and assisting others who are taking leadership roles.
One of the great blessings of a small church is that the children and youth are not off somewhere else and doing something else while the adults “do church.” We’re all in it together. We know our kids, and they know that there are grown-ups other than their parents who love them and support them and encourage them.
We ask a lot of our church members. Many of you were out in the heat on a Saturday getting a community garden ready to plant. Others are stretching resources of money and time to prepare for our Community Day so that children we don’t even know will be well equipped to start school is a few weeks. Now we are needing to launch a pretty comprehensive children’s program–with only one full-time staff person.
In a world where more and more people are searching for meaning, where people are looking for ways to make a positive impact in a world that seems to be spinning out of control, where the church itself is struggling to remain relevant, we have the opportunity to do meaningful, relevant work in the name of Jesus Christ that will bear fruit for years to come. From the seeds we plant in the ground to the seeds we plant in our children.
After our session meets on August 13 and approves a course of action, we will be letting you know the many ways in which you can be involved. Please take some time between now and then in thought and in prayer as to how you can share your gifts with the growing number of children in our church. And don’t hesitate to talk with me about ideas you have for this ministry.
Rev. Anne Russ