Chicago has officially opened!
Well, I have exciting news from Chicago! As of Friday, 6/11, Chicago has officially opened and declared that churches could re-open without restrictions. While many of our churches had already began in-person services with restrictions, it is wonderful to be able to swing the door open wide and welcome all. No more signing up online for a seat, and sitting masked up and 6 feet apart from another human!
Unfortunately, however, some of our area churches are seeing a slow return of young families and children. There are a few places where we ministered frequently where the children’s ministry is almost non-existent. It is heartbreaking.
Our focus from the beginning of Engage Kids has been “engaging churches to engage kids” and we continue to give that our all. It has been challenging during this time, but I am excited to say that while we have not been able to do as much in-person ministry the way we desire, we have used this time to double up on training and mentoring. It is also exciting to be able to begin meeting in person with Pastors, staff and lay people. Zoom and face time are wonderful tools, but it does not replace the personal contact.
One of our newest updates is we are collaborating with the National Kid Min office with the Assemblies of God and local church in the Connected Strategy. The Connected Strategy is where we, as Assembly of God US Missions’ missionaries with a focus on children, are partnering with the National Kid Min office, the districts and the local church to assist the local churches that desire support with their children’s ministries.
How does the Connected Strategy work? We connect to churches through the district office, relationships and referrals. There is little or no cost to the churches, but there is a need for the lead pastor to commit to making children’s ministry a priority in their church. The leader of the children’s ministry is enrolled in the Hydrate Children’s ministry training (this an online training course). Those leaders also become a part of a virtual children’s ministry huddle group hosted by me. I am available to these leaders for coaching and mentoring. We work with the churches in doing a full assessment of their children’s ministry to give them ideas on where and how we can best assist them. We also make ourselves available to these churches to help or do outreach ministries and services.
With the pandemic and shut down for so long, we have seen the discouragement and complacency within children’s ministry. Especially young families have become comfortable in having church on the couch. It is so much easier than taking the time to get their family dressed and out the door. It is discouraging to walk in to a church and see no children, and to listen to pastors who are so discouraged. Heartbreaking! THIS is the time to rise up, and not allow ourselves to become complacent. We have to motivate ourselves, and PRESS on!
As we look to Paul as a role model in ministry, we see that he maintained a sense of urgency – not complacency. Our focus must be on those who do not yet know Jesus! The issue is not how many people are attending your church, but how many people in your community are not serving Jesus. How many children are in your community at the playground or in their back yards while we are at church? We must have an urgency to reach out! There is no time for complacency. Our communities need Jesus.
Everything rises and falls on leadership. If we become complacent because of the happenings that surround us, that attitude will infiltrate our churches. We have to keep adding fuel to the fire. We must press on! We must be passionate about reaching our communities with the gospel of Jesus Christ! There is not one minute to lose ~ no time for complacency. We are so excited to be part of that fuel, and to team with Pastors who have a heart to reach children!!
So, we press on……………………….
For His Children,
Aldin and Debbie