Kids Ministry Update
I love our church! It’s unlike any other church I know. In the past 7 years, we’ve gone from a church of about 130 pretty steady long-time attenders, to now about 500 people with at least one-third of that 500 being folks that are only here for a short season, and another third that has only been here a few years.
Now we thank God for this. Our vision is to see gospel renewal in the city of El Paso and through it the world. We thank God that we do have a group of El Pasoans who are here and plan to invest in gospel renewal here. We also thank God for the people who are here temporarily because it’s an opportunity to bring gospel renewal through our city to the world.
But there is a difficult side to this as well and one of the places we’ve seen this recently has been in our volunteer base. If you’ve been here recently you’ve heard us put the call out for places like ushers and kids ministry workers. Some have responded and we thank God for you. But we haven’t gotten enough to fully staff our teams, especially in kids ministry. We’ve had to cap or shut classrooms for the last two Sundays. Other teams where we normally see volunteers like in the worship team we have had fewer folks step up to serve. Basically, we have a shortage across most of our teams to be able to execute Sunday gatherings well.
Now, there can be a variety of factors playing into this. First, our church makeup contributes to this difficulty. We have a lot of families with kids--higher than other churches I know. We have a lot of people here temporarily--much higher than any church I’m aware of in El Paso (about ⅓). We have a lot of attenders who aren’t members -- about 40% of the church. Second, because we have grown it’s always easy to come on Sunday and everything is set up and think, “The church is doing fine and they don’t need me.” If you’re a longtime member you might think the new folks should be serving, if you’re new you’re thinking you’re new you need others to serve.
So as a church family, what do we do with this? If you’re a member you’re part of this family and we need to work on this together. If you’re not a member, if you just attend, let me give you the Todd Peterson test to know whether this is your church: If you wake up and don’t think about where to go to church, this is your church too! What we need is a shift in how we approach this.
We’re not just trying to fill ministry team slots at Cross of Grace. That can’t be what we’re doing. We’re trying to help every person grow as a disciple and follow Jesus. Ephesians 4:11 says that the role of the pastor or evangelist or teacher isn’t to do all the ministry but rather to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ...to mature manhood...to the fullness of Christ.” So what does it look like for us all to grow as disciples?
- 1 Peter 2 says that we are all living stones being built together into a temple. That means every disciple is part of God’s work and meant to be built into others.
- 1 Cor 12 says that we are together the body of Christ. Each disciple may not be equally visible but each is equally needed. There are no parts of the body that it’s okay if they don’t function--otherwise, we’re sick.
- Ephesians 2:19 says that we’re all part of the household of God. And being part of the household means that some parts of service you feel super called to and excited about and some you do just to be a faithful member of the family.
Think of it this way: I remember this movie years ago where this guy at an apartment complex was constantly working out and he was utterly ripped...but only in one arm! His other arm was puny and weak. Here’s my burden: I don’t want part of the church to be really fit and functioning well and other parts of the body to be weak and not functioning well. I want us all to be ripped. I believe God is doing something amazing here and I want everyone to grow as they’re part of it.
What I want to highlight specifically is a challenge with our Kids Ministry and a key appeal: Two years ago, in response to the growth God brought, we moved to two services which doubled (!) our Kids Ministry classes. However, a heroic group of volunteers stepped up and agreed to serve weekly for a while to meet that need. Inevitably, after some time, we started to see people begin to rotate out, but we haven’t been able to fill their shoes with enough voluntary replacements especially in the area of helpers. What that leaves us with is this: we have a wonderful and dedicated group of teachers who serve weekly, but we are really short on helpers to support those teachers especially in the younger classrooms.
So here is the appeal we believe we need to make right now: If your kids are benefitting from Kids Ministry we are appealing for your help in the ministry. I know some churches where they mandate or require parents to serve but we would rather do what Paul does in Philemon where he says, “Though I am bold enough to command you...yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you…” (8-9). We won’t kick your kids out of Kids Ministry if you don’t serve, but we’re appealing for help. For many people that would look like helping out in one service one per month. And this appeal would be for both members and non-members because probably only 40% of our attendance is non-members so it’s just not possible for us to cover that gap with members only.
But here are the benefits we see this creating:
- We can avoid closing classes because we don’t have enough people to staff the ministry
- We can avoid volunteer burnout that happens when there are too many kids and not enough hands
- We can ensure stability and sustainability for the ministry and not have to live or die based on the latest recruitment drive
- We can keep really skilled teachers who teach weekly but supplement them with a helper rotation
- We believe every family is called to disciple their kids and serving in this way would actually be a means of helping our parents be equipped for their task
- We believe every Christian is called to serve in the church and this could be a great first step for many
In addition to this, if you don’t have kids in the ministry but want to serve, we would LOVE your help. We believe this is making a key investment in the next generation.
So that’s where we’re headed. We’re happy to answer questions. But I want to encourage you to sign up today as a parent to help. You can sign up HERE. We’ll also begin reaching out proactively. Please pray with us!