At Immanuel Church, we value and prioritize togetherness in the Sunday Worship Gathering. With that in mind, we initially designed Immanuel Kids to look like this:
- Nursery through Preschool: Children’s Ministry is provided for the entire worship service.
- Kindergarten through 3rd Grade: Children start in the worship service but are dismissed to Children’s Ministry before the sermon.
- 4th Grade and older: Children remain in worship service.
In the past month, however, we have been rethinking the plan for our lower-elementary children (i.e, Kindergarten through 3rd Grade). As we have continued to think, pray, and receive feedback about the children’s ministry setup, we have concluded there is a better way to arrange Sunday mornings for Immanuel Kids.
Starting September 25th, we would like to have 1st Grade through 3rd Grade remain in the worship service for the full time, and Kindergartners will have the option of staying in a Kindergarten class during the entire service. So, in this new setup, Immanuel Kids will look like this:
- Nursery through Kindergarten: Children’s Ministry will be provided for the entire worship service.
- 1st Grade and Up: Children will remain in the worship service.
Why are we making this change to include more children in the worship service? Several reasons…
- We value togetherness. Put very simply, the Gospel brings us together. It makes us a family. And so, as much as possible, we want to be a Family (not just families) in the presence of God.
- We want to prioritize the Sunday Worship Gathering. We know that age-specific ministries/programs are important. But as helpful as they can be, we believe the Sunday Worship Gathering (the church gathered, singing, offering, praying, observing the ordinances, and listening to the Word) is most important. So if we must choose, we are convinced that we should choose the Worship Gathering first.
- We think it’s best for children/parents. This is not just about the ideal. We believe that it is beneficial, even the best, for our children and parents.
- For Parents. It is a discipleship opportunity for parents/adults. When children are sitting among us, we get a chance to model sincere, reverent, joyful worship to our worthy God. When they are seeing what we see and hearing what we hear, we get opportunities to follow up and help them in their understanding.
- For Children. It is an opportunity for them to more fully observe and learn what the church is (who we are and what we do). And they will learn as they begin to absorb the rhythms of worship and observe the reverent devotion of their parents and leaders.
As we anticipate this change, there are a few other points to consider…
More for Kids
We plan to add to Immanuel Kids in the future. Ideally, we would like a second time (e.g., a Wednesday evening) in which we could include some age-specific discipleship, like Children’s Ministry programming.
We are also exploring worship service helps for kids. As you may have noticed, we’ve already begun circulating some Children’s Handouts for the worship service. We are working to have Immanuel Kids Worship Kits (filled with worksheets, crayons, and more) that will help children follow along, engage, and get the most out of the worship gathering.
Serving in Immanuel Kids
This change may also affect where and how you serve in Immanuel Kids. First, some of you were probably hoping to serve in the Elementary classes. We understand. If you can, we would encourage you to stick on the ministry team and help with preschoolers and kindergarteners. And know that we would love to have an Elementary Kids program down the road, when we have the time and space for it.
Second, some of you may have hoped to serve in Kid’s Ministry with your spouse, but you have kids who will now be in the gym for the full worship service. If this is the case for your family, here are a few options to consider: a) Reconsider both of you serving b) Consider having your children serve with you c) Consider having your children sit with another family/adult.
As always, we welcome your feedback. What questions or concerns do you have? Please let us know.