Issue 272 — March 10, 2016
Our lives are so busy. How do we find a way to nurture children in Christian living when attendance can be sporadic at best for many families? Gayle Quay, minister to children at Buncombe Street UMC in Greenville, South Carolina, found a way to help keep children connected during the times that attendance is down. She created lessons for parents and children to do in the car or at the beach or on vacation so that children stay current even when they cannot attend church.
Gayle realized that the number of families attending Holy Week services at the church was low. It just so happens that spring break often falls during that week, and families vacation or visit relatives and friends. Gayle and the children’s ministry assistant developed lessons that helped families share the story of Holy Week no matter where they are.
Parents let Gayle know ahead of time if they were going to be away, and they picked up bags that contained an on-the-go version of Holy Week services at Buncombe Street UMC. They made them according to developmental stages of children, using items that are available at home and in local shops. Each bag contained Scripture and a devotion for the family with instructions on how to engage preschoolers and elementary children in the activity. The interactive activity was based on the week’s Scripture and an extra activity for families who wanted to go deeper in understanding Holy Week.
We need to make time for worship and devotion in our busy lives. At Buncombe Street UMC, the children are equipped to experience that time, even when they are away from home.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- How can we help children experience worship and devotion when they are not able to be present at church?
- What other times of the Christian calendar could we create on-the-go worship experiences for children and families?
- What are some other ways that we can nurture children when they are not able to be present at church?
Produced by Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church to communicate effective principles and practices demonstrated by congregations that are actively making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
These congregations are marked by:
- Clarity around the mission and vision of the congregation.
- Practice of spiritual disciplines, both corporately and individually.
- Nurture in growth in discipleship through mutual support and accountability.
- Cultivation of intentional and mutual relationships with the most vulnerable—the poor, children, the imprisoned, the powerless.
- Consistent concern for inviting people into relationship with Jesus Christ, combined with wise practices for initiating them into the body of Christ.
- Connectional relationships that facilitate participation in God’s mission of global transformation.
- Shared clergy and lay leadership.
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