The Cokesbury Kids blog is all about ministry!

Our goal is to provide ideas and examples to assist you as you minister to families and teach the gospel to the kids in your community.

Ministering Beyond Church Walls

by Caitlin Booth -

Our church building has been closed for a month now. For the most part, our primary means of offering church services and ministries have been a virtual online presence. It was an Easter like no other! Long before the state ordered a Stay at Home order, 7,000 Easter eggs had been filled. What were we going to do with 7,000 stuffed Easter eggs during this Stay at Home order? 

Here is how we met the needs of our church families and our community. 

    * Our mission was to offer a To-Go Easter Egg Hunt! 

    * We advertised this activity through social media outlets. 

    * Next, several staff members safely prepared packets with filled Easter eggs, Easter books and other fun Easter prizes. 

    * The day of the activity, families drove up in their cars. Bags were safely passed to them making sure we kept the 6-foot rule! It was so much fun watching children from afar pick up the packets since we had no contact with families at the pickup station.

We were able to meet the needs of 350 families through the efforts of our To-Go Easter Egg Hunt! Some people made an hour-long trek to participate with this ministry.

During our email devotions for Holy Week use offered a LEGO Easter. Each day children and staff built the Easter Story out of Lego building blocks. We shared pictures online talking about our Easter scenes and the real meaning of Easter. 

Leading up to Easter and currently, we meet online with families each Sunday and Thursday evenings using the meeting host, ZOOM. During this time together we pray for one another and have a Bible story as we meet face-to-face for worship online. 

Seeing these precious children face-to-face help fill my cup with joy. 

Each week packets of the Bible Story Basics worksheets are provided for families. These sheets are used during our Sunday night ZOOM meetings. This option allows us the opportunity to communicate with children and families as we share the teachings of Jesus with them.

Bible lesson packets are still being stocked and placed on the playground each week. Families drive up to pick up their packets in order to use at home during family worship time.

As a way to stay connected, messages to families with children are being posted on the church’s Facebook page. We provide links to the Family Zoom meetings with a daily devotion. 

In the daily devotionals families receive via email a Bible verse and fun facts about a topic of interest. For example, our most recent topic was one on germs! Facts from the CDC website were provided for families illustrating how fast germs spread. 

This daily devotional includes a Bible verse with a prayer and questions. Extra activities such as offering science experiments and craft ideas are provided. One of the craft ideas has been to create unique paper snowflakes as a way to tie in our upcoming VBS. 

During this time stressing over what snack to offer or if the children will want to create certain crafts has faded away. Now my thoughts are only with the needs of families. During these days our Church is still a place where people can connect to discover hope, deepen their faith, and demonstrate love to others. 

Each Sunday morning, a few staff members go to the church building to provide the online services. This past morning I ended up in the Sanctuary all-alone. Everyone had left. I went back into the building to grab something I had forgotten. It was dark, cold, and empty as I knelt at the altar to pray. The light shined through the cross stained glass window and reminded me that Light of Jesus will always overcome the darkness. It was a good moment as I realized we will get through this pandemic and God is with us. Our world is different now. Yet, some things never change. God still loves us! Our ministry and mission are the same. Go and tell the world that God is with us!

Caitlin Booth
Director of Children's Ministries 
First United Methodist Church
Ormond Beach, FL