Thanks to the leadership of Joy Alms and support of Donna Shapiro—both with Christ Presbyterian Kids Ministry—more than 300 children at the Old Hickory location are intentionally learning about two Missional Partnerships per year. Committed to age-appropriate strategies that engage and educate our children, their 2018-2019 Missional Living Highlights began this fall featuring Show Hope, “a movement to care for orphans by engaging the Church and reducing barriers to adoption.”
Each Missional Living Highlight is strategic with an informational postcard going to each home ahead of time, plus multiple points of communication including a prayer bookmark for each child to keep and additional follow-up for several weeks in the fall and in the spring. The Sundays featuring a special guest are designed to combine face-to-face presentations with age-appropriate hands-on projects, evoking a relational element that helps each ministry resonate more deeply with our children.
In October, approximately 200 children at our Old Hickory Blvd location heard Rebecca Dorris from Show Hope give one of four presentations, each tailored to a different age group. She fielded their thoughtful questions, including one kindergartener who earnestly asked, “Why is love so important?” A few days later, a little boy approached Rebecca in Publix saying, "Mom—that's the lady who spoke at church on Sunday!" It warmed Rebecca’s heart to hear from this mom that her son had shared a lot of detail with her!
After hearing the presentation, our children and families responded by collecting a variety of teething toys, baby socks, baby lotions and diaper creams to help support Show Hope. Learning about Maria’s Big House of Hope in China was particularly meaningful to the elementary children (grades 1-6) who made quilt squares inscribed with encouraging Bible verses, adding an element of handwritten love to the five crib quilts that have incorporated their 116 squares. These quilts have recently been finished and will be on their way to China soon.
Our younger ones (pre-K & K) got a chance to show love as well, with 75 “thank you” bags they made with chocolate, pens, sticky notepads and hot chocolate packets for the Show Hope staff and volunteers. One parent followed up with Kids Ministry Director Mallory Hammond that learning about Show Hope prompted questions about missionaries with her four-year-old for which she was grateful.
In March/April, HEAL Ministries will be featured. Founded by Christ Presbyterian member Tina Weir, this ministry in Uganda exists “to build relationships and implement Christ-centered programs addressing the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of abandoned women and children.” There is already excitement building about this next Missional Living Highlight!
What encourages Kids Ministry most? Each time they hear multiple families at the Welcome Center and in the hallways discussing the featured ministry over the weeks that follow—and it is the child doing the explaining and educating the parents!
“We think we are seeing a trend toward kids really anticipating these Missional Living Highlights because they are educational, relational and responsive,” Alms said.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these ... ” (Matthew 19:14)