As we begin this fall, we’re grateful for the different ways that we are able to connect with children, youth, and families, both in church and at home. On Sunday, our Kids Out Loud ministry expanded beyond nursery, preschool, and kindergarten, to include students through 5th grade. Beginning in September, our middle school and high school students will be invited to participate in Fusion, a collaborative youth group with 3 other churches on the south side of Lafayette. We look forward to seeing how God will use all of these ministries to help our children and youth grow in faith this year!
Our nursery, preschool, and kindergarten children have been meeting on Sunday mornings since Easter Sunday. They will continue to meet during our worship service for families who attend in person. Children are checked in at the start of the worship time, and their groups meet for the entire length of the worship service. In our nursery, our volunteers care for and play with children from birth through three years. These children have the opportunity to watch the Ollie Bible story video, so they are introduced to the concepts that God made us, God loves us, and Jesus wants to be our friend forever.
Preschool and kindergarten students meet together for class during our worship service. They play games, sing songs, and do activities that all tie into their Bible story for the week. They also watch the Ollie Bible story video, and the teachers in their class review and reinforce the message of the story during the teaching time. You can find the lessons here.
Families who are worshipping at home have access to the same Ollie video, with songs and the Bible story for the week. We also post a parent guide for each week’s lesson, so that adults at home are given ideas about how to connect conversations and activities throughout the week to what is taught in the Bible story.
Our 1st through 5th grade students who worship in person begin the worship service with their families in the Sanctuary. They are present with us for worship songs, morning prayer, and invitations into the life of the church. Our children’s message videos have shifted, so that in this season we are sharing our introductory video to our Bible story lesson. Children are then invited to a class in the Great Room, where they watch the Bible story video and an “outro” video where the week’s host catches on to the point of the lesson. They complete activities and games that reinforce the message taught in the Bible story.
Families who are worshiping at home also have access to the videos that we share in worship and in the Great Room. The intro, Bible story, and outro video are combined into one file that we share weekly on our YouTube page. A parent guide is also posted for the elementary Bible lesson, giving ideas for activities and conversation starters that draw students back into the main idea of each week’s Bible story. You can find the online lessons here.
All of our children’s ministry videos and parent guides can be found online at ecclife.net/kids, by clicking on the age group for each lesson. These videos are also posted weekly to our YouTube channel.
Middle school and high school students will also have an opportunity to participate in person as we begin meeting with the Fusion group of Lafayette. Students from Innovation Church, Sunrise Christian Reformed Church, Lafayette Community Church, and now ECC will gather together on Sunday evenings from 5:15-7pm. Students and leaders will meet for dinner, games, worship, a live Bible lesson, and small group breakout opportunities.
Our location will rotate - each of the 4 churches will take turns hosting for a month at a time. The entire month of September, Fusion will take place at Sunrise Christian Reformed Church, just down the road.
Each month a different church will host and feed the youth a meal. Our part in this is to host one month out of four, to offer teaching on Sunday nights during a different month, and to be faithful in sending volunteers and students each week. We will be hosting the group at ECC in the months ahead, and we will need the help of many to provide a meal for the students and leaders who will join us.
We are exploring options for an online connection with our middle school and high school students, for those who are not yet comfortable meeting in person.
All of these opportunities for children and youth will require volunteers, so we encourage each member of our congregation to pray about how you might serve in this new season ahead. From caring for babies in our nursery to playing messy games with our middle schoolers, there are many opportunities for you to say yes to the children and youth of ECC. Please contact Kristin Mueller (email@example.com) if you’d like help discerning where God is calling you to serve!