need content— ??
The purpose of our children’s ministry is to support our families in raising their children as disciples of Jesus Christ. Every Sunday we call our young children to the front of the worship space for a children’s sermon and to dance as they worship the Lord. Our older children have opportunities to serve as acolytes, ushers, lectors, and as part of the worship team. It is our desire that the Word of the Lord will grow in their hearts and that they will grow in the knowledge of God’s love for them. With this as our foundation, every program, class, and special event is planned to spiritually enrich the lives of our children. Below you can discover more about the Children’s Ministries we provide to facilitate this goal.
Our goal is for all of our young people to feel welcome in worship, and we seek to encourage their age-appropriate participation in a truly multi-generational worship community. Here are a few ways that happens each week.
Ages 0 – 2
We warmly welcome our youngest church attendees to our safe, creative and fun nursery space. In addition to part-time staffer Sue Vanderlaan, our nursery is staffed with servants from our congregation who are eager to share God’s love with these children. A check-in system and pagers ensure that the nursery staff will be able to reach parents if the need arises.
The nursery is available during both Sunday worship services, during the Faith Formation hour between services, during Wednesday morning bible study (WOW) and during Wednesday night programming (Connect4). The nursery is located across from our church office.
Infants are also very welcome in the worship service, and many parents make use of the nursery for part of the service, and bring their children into the sanctuary for communion.
After our opening worship songs and readings, all children are invited forward to hear an age-appropriate message from one of the pastors. Often featuring an object lesson and encouraging active participation from the children and adults, our young ones are affirmed as followers of Christ and encouraged in their faith.
Ages 3 – 1st grade
Just after the children’s sermon, our young ones are dismissed to hear God’s stories in their own worship space. They hear a Bible story that is reinforced through age-appropriate crafts and activities. The children are led back to the service to rejoin their families during the passing of the peace in order to participate in communion.
For elementary-aged children who stay in the main worship space, colorful Children’s Worship Help Bags are provided near the entry doors to the worship space. These bags contain paper, pencils, crayons and other items to keep hands quiet but busy. To encourage our children to listen to the sermon, ushers at the entry to the worship space also have children’s bulletins available upon request.
Throughout the service we allow children the freedom to participate freely in worship in a way that helps them engage at their level. When singing, they may clap their hands or dance in the aisles. During the sermon they may draw a picture about what they hear. They are invited to communion for the bread and wine, or a blessing. During a baptism they are invited forward to witness the sacrament up close. And at the late service during the sending song there are simple instruments available for them to join in the joyful noise.
Faith Formation Hour
Ages 3 – 4th grade
During the Faith Formation Hour during the school year, children head to their classrooms to participate in an age-appropriate worship service. Just like the main worship services, our Children in Worship kids experience the four main parts of worship: gathering, word, table, and sending. They are able to hear the stories of our faith in an intimate setting and respond to it in age-appropriate ways. Each week a “feast” is provided by the “child of the day” who also invites a parent or favorite person to the class.
5th grade – 12th grade
St. Luke’s provides many opportunities for children and adults to grow and strengthen their faith. During the school year we offer faith formation classes which are led by caring, knowledgeable, and though provoking Christian servants who are members of our church. Our content is steeped in t he Lutheran tradition and includes video-based teachings of heroes and important teachings of the faith (5th/6th grade), immersion in The Story of God with His people (7th/8th grade), and preparing students to defend and keep the faith through lectionary based discussions (9th-12th grade). The Lutheran catechism is also taught for ten weeks of each calendar year in the 5th-8th grades.
To foster a greater sense of community and fellowship among all of the members and church attendees, we periodically offer cross-generational events called FUN Sunday (Fellowship UNiting All Ages). Children and adults of all ages are encouraged to join us as we seek to know God and our neighbors more deeply.