“Enter his gates with thanks; enter his courtyards with praise! Thank him! Bless his name!”
Yes, let’s face it, 2021 has been another tough year for many of us serving families in churches. Read the verse again. What words popped out as you read the verse again? Thanks. Praise. Blessings. Now think about your ministry to kids and families through the lens of this verse. Where is the thanks? The praise? The blessings?
Several grateful leaders shared their thankful thoughts about their ministries to kids and families.
Kandi Hutton with Tyner UMC in Chattanooga, TN shared this blessing with us. “I'm so thankful for the children and families who are coming back to in person worship at church. Praying for all our sweet children.”
These hopeful and positive words of blessings from Susie Faas with Heritage Presbyterian Church in Mason, OH, were shared with us.
“I am so thankful to be able to serve families and children through ministry. It truly is the best job I’ve ever had! What a privilege teach God’s Word to such eager minds, joy-filled faces, and wiggly bodies. I think the blessing I’m most thankful for, is that our families consider me as part of THEIR family. They treat me as their sister or their Mom, including me in their families’ activities and life stories. I am thankful that through our families at Heritage, I am able to experience the joy of being in a CHURCH FAMILY."
Rebecca Dyck with University UMC, Chapel Hill, NC shared these honest, heartfelt moments in ministry with us.
“After a verbal exchange of different opinions during our weekly worship planning meeting one of my colleagues remarked, “I have never worked with a group of people whom I love so much and who can make me so mad!”, and another colleague responded, “That’s because we’re a family.” We all laughed and nodded, and I came away with a feeling I have after (almost) all meetings: I am part of a team. Since March 2020 dropped on us, my colleagues and I have faced uncertainty, new challenges, hopeful planning, and discouraging setbacks with creativity and fortitude...and with the solid sense that we are in this thing together, and we need to be there for each other. Pressure has created an opportunity to try new things and think in new ways.
Our clergy and church lay leadership gazed at children’s ministries and said, “Children are the most vulnerable group. We need to build safety and health responses around that understanding, around supporting ‘the least of these’”. I have many specific examples (a tent that covers much of the parking lot for safe, comfortable outdoor activities; masks worn by everyone, all the time, indoors; prioritizing getting our in-house preschool back in the building...) but it’s the continual celebration of what is happening, the support of what can be done, the cohesive response to criticism for which I am most grateful. There are tough days, and petty behavior, as there are in all families. But I work with people who default to supportive and resourceful. And I am deeply grateful for that!”
Laura Stinnett with Bellville UMC in Bellville, TX, says, “I am very thankful for my ministry at Bellville UMC. The children come with bright smiles and are eager to learn about Jesus. I am thankful for when they "get" the point I am telling them or they can tell me the story themselves. Children's Ministry is where you are thanked for what you do by kids along with thanking the kids for wanting to know more.”
“I’m thankful for our amazing volunteers who have served kids in the most unusual circumstances. They keep showing up (virtually and in person) and representing Jesus to kids and families.” Thank you Nick Ransom from United Methodist Church Of The Resurrection in Kansas City, KS for those great words concerning your awesome volunteers!
Thank you leaders for staying strong and committed to the children of the church and community. During this season of giving thanks, let’s remember our calling from God to serve the precious children and their families. Yes, we can give thanks. Praise God. Bless the name and God and give God the glory for all the amazing blessings in our midst.
“Enter his gates with thanks; enter his courtyards with praise! Thank him! Bless his name!” Psalm 100:4