I can’t say I have been bored in ministry this past year. Covid has changed how I have done everything. And now, with kids still not vaccinated and the Delta variant, we will not be going back to how things were before. So what’s new for Kid Ministry 2021 at my congregation?
Rally Day: Make it big! Make it fun! Do somethings inside, and do somethings outside. Here is what we will be doing at my congregation, Bethlehem Lutheran Church – Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN. We did a little ditty video, too!
Prioritize Worship: Often, parents ask me “Should my kiddo go to Sunday School or worship? We can’t do both!” My answer has never changed: a family that learns God’s story together, grows in God’s story together. That’s a simple way of “Take your family to worship!” I want to be that church that’s known for helping families navigate worship together. We are changing up how we do worship bags (blog post coming), interactive storytelling in worship and live stream, creating worship assistants, and families serving together.
Outdoor: For families who are not ready to venture into the building, we are planning outdoor family worship experiences including an outdoor Christmas program. Sidewalk Sunday School and Outdoor Confirmation are two other ideas for outdoor programming with families and students.
ECHO Sunday school: Families are busy these days as activities ramp up, and then there is the new normal routines that families have created. With worship as the priority, Sunday School is no longer the model. We don’t have an education hour or a concurrent program. Instead, we have ECHO. Kids are in worship up through the Storytime, and then go out to the narthex to do some kids activities, and then return at the offering/ passing of the peace. They ECHO the story! There are take home art projects to continue the story together at home!
Here is what we do during those 10-15 minutes:
DIY Sunday School (Age 3 – 2nd Grade) Families can sign up for the Kids@Home class that works a little bit like a subscription service. For a nominal fee of $25 (which pays for shipping and supplies) parents and grandparents, caregivers, and baptismal sponsors can gift a child with a faith box. Each box contains between 5-7 weeks of faith at home activities including craft materials, science experiments, and games all centered on a different Bible story. These boxes are available 3 times a year: Fall, Advent & Christmas, Lent & Easter
Small Pods: One thing that I did during the pandemic was to get “certified” in Little Lotus Yoga Training to teach yoga to children up to age 12 yoga. Parents love small pod groups for their kiddos right now! This fall I am offering Yoganimals, a story and stretch time for kids age 3-6 for 6 weeks. Check it out here.
Hybrid Everything: Online learning is not going away. As the church, hybrid everything is the new normal. For example, 3rd grade Bibles: there is in person class, a zoom class, and a google classroom. Parents pick which one works best for their family. The presentation can either be done in person at worship or during the live stream. We just zoom in the kids!
Podcast it: I don’t have this up and running yet, but I hope to by the time Stewardship rolls around in October. If you are familiar with NPR’s show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” I hope to do something similar with kids with “Wait! Wait! Please Tell Me!” In advance, kids will get a Bible story to read as a family, they will call in (prerecorded) and answer some questions about the story, and then win a prize! The podcast will be released on Wednesday mornings under “Wake Up Wednesdays with Pastor Heather!” TBCd.