“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 NKJV
I love my brothers! I can’t imagine my life without them. My older brother, Ty, is a cowboy-fireman. No he’s not 6, he’s actually two years older than me and was my safety growing up. I could always depend on him to take care of me. I have a “baby” brother who is 6 foot tall and a high school football coach. He could always depend on me to take care of him, I’m just another form of a mom to him.
I grew up in family! Some kids do, some don’t. But we all belong to God’s family. We are all adopted sons and daughters. Beacause of this, one of my main goals within Chidlren’s and Student ministry is to simulate a family system. By necessity I’ve combined kinder through fifth graders in Children’s ministry and 6th through 12th grade in student ministry.
Most churches will segregate by age group because it’s easier to manage, easier to present the message, just all around easier period. I know because I”ve been there. With the bulding and the production teams, and the nursery equipped rooms. But as you start a new church, that’s not always possible.
Setting up a safe nursery is for another blog. Making an elementary ministry and a student ministry can work with mixed ages –and I will even go as far to say that it can work even better! Our kids in this world lack connections–even in their own families. What better place to teach a child about family than at church.
Here are a few ways to start.
1. Encourage the kids to look at each other like brothers and sisters who take care of one another. Explain what that means to them. Show them how to care for each other, by helping the smaller kids with chairs, or craft projects and encourage the older kids to take that leadership role.
2. Enlighten kids to God’s plan that we are one family without prejudice. Consistently vision casting God’s desire for us to be brothers and sisters in Christ will sink in.
3. Express your desire for each of them to grow up in a loving family at church, regardlelss of what their family is like at church. As you show them that different types of families exists everywhere, even in the church, they will begin to clearly see God’s vast love, without walls or prejudice.
Not only will you see a change in the love between the kids in your church, you are creating a great foundation for sibilings to love one another at home. Parents will thank you, and more importantly you are modeling a true Christ like community at the youngest ages!
Do you think it can work?