When Racquel first stepped into her role as Children’s Director at Trinity Church in Chicago, she was in charge of creating all the systems, schedules, curriculum for classes, as well as coordinating volunteers, budgets, and managing details, like snacks and water for the kids.
“One of my first projects was to find a curriculum that we could tailor to our age groups. We had kids 6 weeks to 12 years old, and our church isn’t very big, so some of the ages have to be in the same classroom.”
Racquel looked at so many curriculums and found programs that either weren’t a good fit or were just way out of budget for their small church. But when she found the LifeKids curriculum on Open Network, she was amazed that it was a free resource! They did a trial run to see how volunteers and kids would respond, and everyone was pleased. Kids were engaged, learning, and having fun! The older kids like the Crosstown curriculum because they’re funny and they like to laugh. Younger children enjoyed the Bible App for Kids curriculum because the repetition helps them learn the Bible verses. And the leaders were hooked because of how simple it is to use in their classrooms.
But when Covid-19 began to spread, a worldly crisis grew overnight. In a matter of days, churches across the nation were forced to close their doors. Pastors and church leaders, including Racquel, had to act fast. Because of her connection with the LifeKids resources online, Racquel was ready when Trinity Church decided to go digital. Not only were they able to stream services using the Church Online Platform, but Racquel was able to encourage parents to watch services online, and included a link where their kids could interact with God’s Word digitally too. The goal was that families would engage with God’s Word together, and it worked!
“I have no idea what I would have done without Open Network resources during this time of quarantine. I would probably have whipped out my Bible and just made a video reading and teaching a lesson. I have two kids who are now at home with me, as well as another full-time job, so I can’t imagine how it would have turned out,” Racquel told us.
Amazingly, Racquel reports that during this time of crisis, God has actually brought their church closer together. Having kids curriculum for families to access online has been a game-changer, not just in the midst of this crisis, but from the start. They’ve watched the kids grow and their ministry change in ways that they haven’t seen before.
“People are so grateful and hungry for connection and God’s love. Separated by space and buildings, we’ve gotten to meet needs, connect, and be the Church. We are praying for people and communicating with people on a deeper basis!”
Whether in a church built with bricks or one created with pixels in cyberspace, the people of God will always do what we do, making a home for people’s souls—a place for them to learn that God is an ever-present refuge in times of trouble. Stories like Racquel’s show that nothing can stop God from building his Church, not even a global crisis.
As doing church looks completely different for adults and kids in this season, we want to help equip pastors around the world to bring an excellent and engaging experience to living rooms in their cities. If you’re thinking about having an online service for kids and their families, you want to make sure you’re providing the very best experience at home for them. While at home, we can’t replicate the complete church experience that kids might receive at church. Like Racquel, we can innovate to help families connect with the Word together at home.
Here are three things that we’ve learned at Life.Church as we’ve pursued this:
- Keep It Engaging — Your emcee for any kids experience has to be genuine and real. Kids connect the best with people they can relate to!
- Economy of Words — Keep it short. Figure out how to say what you’d normally say in 300 words in 100 words instead.
- Encourage Parents to Talk — It’s so important to have a discussion element. Having questions at the end of kids’ experiences allow parents time to talk with their kids about what they’re learning
Connecting with each other is another aspect that we’re navigating through in this season. This is challenging and requires even more intentionality than it ever has before.
How can we help parents and leaders stay connected in this time?
- Reach Out — Do not discredit the simple act of calling or texting someone and just checking in with them.
- Connecting With Parents — Ask them if you can send their information to their child’s small group leader. This will open up the door for your leaders to text short videos to parents and keep a consistent follow-up with them.
- Connecting Leaders Together — Consider starting Facebook groups with your leaders or parents. This can foster growth, encouragement, and also fun as people engage with each other!
Remember, we don’t want to lead with temporary solutions that will get us through this season — we always want to lead from a posture of building long-term relationships. We’re confident that with just a few simple adjustments in your kids ministry, you can help bring leaders and families closer together during this crisis!
Learn more about teaching and connecting through Kids Ministry Online:
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