By Kristin Devine Mueller
What if you could be the kind of person who says “yes” to new opportunities and adventures? As we enjoy summer, we’re also looking ahead to the fall at church, when our youth and children’s ministries will begin in full swing. We have an amazing group of students at our church, from infants all the way through seniors in high school. Our hope is to connect our children and youth with adults at church who will invest in their lives and create in them a desire to connect deeper with our church family and with God.
When you say “yes” to an opportunity to be a part of a student’s life, you’re saying “yes” to so many things beyond children’s or youth ministry. In our nursery, you’re saying “yes” to hugs, snuggles, bubbles, and songs about Jesus. In our preschool and kindergarten, you’re saying “yes” to art projects, imagination, wonder at Bible stories, and enthusiastic play. In our elementary classes, you’re saying “yes” to laughter, games, interesting conversations, and new discoveries about God and God’s world. In our middle school groups, you’re saying yes to snacks, emotions, deep connections, and questions that grow deeper faith. In our high school groups, you’re saying “yes” to independent thinkers, coffee, authentic relationships, and connecting God to the real world. Each “yes” opens the door for God to do amazing things in your life and in the lives of our students!
This fall, we’ll need youth group leaders for our middle school and high school groups. We’ll need Sunday School teachers for confirmation and high school classes. We’ll need aides for our special needs students. We’ll need teachers for our Kids out Loud classes. We’ll need leaders for Wednesday night Kids Club. We’ll need nursery workers for Sunday mornings and for special events. The needs may seem overwhelming, but we serve a God who desires that even the littlest of children come to Him. We know that God is faithful and we trust that God will raise up volunteers to meet all these needs!
If you’d like an opportunity to say “yes” to our children and youth this fall, visit our ministry directors Carol and Kristin on a Sunday morning after our worship services these next few weeks. You can find us just outside the Sanctuary near the “Say Yes” display. You can also sign up online here to connect with us and help discern the best place for you to serve. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” this fall! We can’t wait to see all the ways that God works in and through you!
By Ronda Ooms
Miller Elementary School was buzzing with excitement the week of June 3-7. Summer XP, our Vacation Bible School, was held from 6:00-8:00pm each evening. Our theme, Power Up - Raise Your Game, was a retro video game theme and the kids loved it! Mario greeted them each evening when they entered Miller, and space invaders hovered in front of them during large group time! Each classroom leader decorated their room to match the theme.
We served over 1,000 meals and had just over 100 different ECC people volunteer throughout the week! It was such a blessing to have so many people involved. Some of our friends from our Thursday night meal at Bauer came up each evening to enjoy a home cooked meal along with us.
We had 136 different children that attended throughout the week! Of those 136 children we (ECC congregants) will have contact with 75% of them throughout the next year though our ECC Children’s Ministries and through our outreach ministry in the Miller/Bauer neighborhood! How exciting is that?
One of things that’s the most enjoyable is seeing the children smiling and having fun. You’ll want to watch this video to see a peek into the excitement!
Of course more than anything else we want the children to know how much God loves them and that He is with them always. Each night the children sang songs, heard stories from the Bible, did activities to help enhance the bottom line of that story, and played games. We gave a way countless Bibles, we presented children with the opportunity to make a commitment to Christ, and we sent home tools to help parents engage with their kids around their faith commitment. We’re still collecting stories of those who made a commitment to Christ, and we know that God was at work!
Our prayer is that God will take what the children learned and help it to grow as they continue through their summer. Please pray with us that the seeds that were sown will grow and blossom. Pray that each person that was a part of last week, young or old, will feel God’s love and will desire to get to know Him better.
We are so appreciative of being able to hold Summer XP at Miller because of all the space that we have available to us to spread out, including use of the playground. We were able to be outside every day, thanks to the great weather we had. What a blessing to be able to teach about God in a public school setting!
To those of you that helped, thank you SO MUCH! We so appreciate your willingness to give of your time and talents to this fun week. Stay tuned to find out which week we will hold Summer XP 2020 (the theme is Focus: See What Matters Most). You’ll want to make a point of being a part of this fun and life changing week
By Carol Smith
Summer is here! For many of us, this means new routines, and that is not always easy on the family. For teens it looks easier because they can stay home alone but this is also an opportunity for "idle" hands. It's important to not schedule their days full but also to give them structure and routine (and responsibilities!) Check out the days we are meeting together on the youth website or the events on the ECC Youth Parents page. If your teens and their friends need something to do, I would gladly open the gym for volleyball or basketball. Just let me know a good day. Look for upcoming opportunities to serve, grow, and learn this summer!
Now that summer is here you might find yourself in between excitement and feeling overwhelmed. You are not alone; this is really common for parents. Rather than being discouraged, you can be equipped. No matter the age, creating a rhythm of rest, responsibility, recreation, and response helps develop healthy living. God created us for these things.
The 4-Rs of Summer!
Rest: While we all know toddlers need to rest, what we don’t realize is that teens need more sleep than we give them credit for. They get cranky similar to a toddler. This means night sleep, but it’s more than that. Allow for unscheduled relaxed time. Find a list of things that can be done in this time: read a book, create art, take a nap outside, journal, devotional. Here are a couple you can try out for kids and teens.
Responsibility: Chores are good for their development. Giving them something to do and allowing them to do it their way like folding towels or putting the dishes away. Something every day teaches them that family life if a joint effort! Ideas for age appropriate chores.
Recreation: Physical movement is essential for the mind, body, and soul. Have them pick a 20-30 minute physical activity to do everyday. Bike ride, circuit exercise, swim, or a walk to the store (technology free!).
Respond: It’s important to give opportunities to respond to God’s calling on our lives to love our neighbors. Schedule a time in the week to respond to needs. For little kids, this could be going through toys and giving one thing to someone who needs it more, or making a gift for a family member. For teens this could be mowing or child care for a neighbor without getting paid.