What’s Up With Children’s Ministry at Hope Church

 In Jason Bunger

I’ve been taking extra time lately to look closely at the Hope Church ministries for children and youth.  It has been exciting to watch, realize their growth and appreciate the long-term impact these ministries are having on our students.  Over the last season, I’ve seen our young people begin to demonstrate real signs of leadership, Christ-likeness and maturity.  My heart is full to see them be part of the local congregation, to see them share their gifts and to see the impact they are having.

Allow me to share a few insights and specific reasons for my full heart and gratitude for our Children’s Ministries.

  1. The quality of our leadership. We are very fortunate to have amazing leaders and teachers working with our children.  Many of our teachers are professionally trained, have served (or are serving) in some of the top academic environments in the area, or have been serving children’s ministry for years. Some of our teachers have served in children’s ministry for well over 30 years.  Our teachers, both new and experienced, are simply good teachers who serve with passion.  Years ago, I remember hearing John MacArthur say that, the children’s ministry is so important that he encouraged the best teachers to be placed in the children’s ministry – rather than the adult area.        
  2. Our teachers are committed to teaching the Bible…and the kids love it!  The lessons, prayers and decorations throughout the children’s area are rooted in a genuine appreciation for scripture.  Once per month, we host a family dinner night at the church.  It was fun to watch the “kids table” win Bible trivia two times in a row.   
  3. Our students genuinely want to be here.  Last week, one of our students walked two miles to the church when transportation was not available to him. 
  4. We have “indigenous” leadership.  I am especially thankful that during this season, our ministry leaders are people who were already invested in the ministry of Hope Church.  It has been great to see them grow as youth and children’s leaders – maturing from “first time guests” into “all in” leaders.
  5. Our children and youth participate in the full missions experience. This year our students assembled care packages, served at soup kitchens, raised money for micro-missions (i.e. Heifer Project) and led vacation Bible school in a Latin American country.  We believe that students learn best by serving beside people that are already active.    
  6. A safe and secure facility check-in process and teacher safety screenings.  To assure that our children are protected while they are learning, our church leadership is committed to these processes. 
  7. Our students are part of the main church.  Children regularly sing in our main service and our youth students participate in the worship band.  Once per month, we encourage/require children to sit with their parents in the worship service.  We love their energy, they keep the pastor from running over – and we find they enjoy it and ask to come back!
  8. We value simplicity.  Our curriculum and programs don’t focus on tons of elaborate events, oversized play or hang out areas, or an app to do something that we didn’t manage to do before apps. The focus is great leadership, dedicated teachers, a safe environment, and a church that desires to include them in all aspects of our ministry.  We eat together, learn together, pray together and play together.  Sounds kinda like church should be!

I am deeply grateful for the students that call Hope Church their church home and for the leaders that deeply invest in them. 

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