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  • Josh Anderson

Exercising Our Faith

theHeart is hosting Vacation Bible School in July. But just to keep things simple, it will be hosted on Sundays at both our 9am and 11am gatherings. That's not all. Read more about several exciting things happening in Kids Ministry over the next several months.

During the month of July, kids will be learning the fundamentals of prayer, study, service, and worship, in fun and interactive ways.

The summer months offer more than sunny skies, warm weather, and the excuse to work on our Chaco tans. They also provide us with an opportunity to experiment with and diversify our approach to Kids Ministry—at least for the next month or two.

On most Sunday mornings at theHeart, our rhythm is to gather kids together into groups by age and lead them in reflecting on God through Bible reading, creative activity, and the fellowship of fun.

After finishing an extensive 11-month trek through the books of Luke and Acts, we've decided to take a break from routine during the months of July and August and attempt something a bit different.  

VBS. Simple.

Take a short drive around town and you can't miss lawns littered with colorful signs promoting weeks of fun and exploration into God's Word. Vacation Bible School (affectionately called VBS) has arrived in full force in the High Country. And many feature a theme.

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." — Micah 6:8

theHeart plans to do something similar. But simple. Instead of a singular week of intensive activities, our VBS will take place each Sunday morning in July during our regular gatherings at 9am and 11am.

We're calling it "Exercise Your Faith." Kids will spend an hour each Sunday actively learning about one of four faith formation fundamentals—prayer, study, service, and worship. Think of it as a "spiritual discipline camp” of sorts.

Next Generations Director, Ethan Hardin explains some of what kids can expect each Sunday.

"We are gathering kids into the gym for some active exercises," Ethan said. "The hope is to create a playful and interactive space where kids can learn some of the 'nuts and bolts' of seeking God."

Teaching Faith Fundamentals

Although these disciplines may be a part of our family life already, it is good to commit to the teaching of these fundamentals as one big family. All Christians, whether three years old or ninety-nine, can learn more about seeking God through corporate practice.

We hope an intentional focus on some of the disciplines of faith will be a wonderful way to model spirituality for the next generation. And our desire is that third- through fifth-graders will enjoy a renewed sense of wonder and excitement about who God is and the relationship He invites all of us into through the love of Christ.

"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." — 2 Corinthians 6:18

Seeking God in relatable and relevant ways is why we offer Kids Ministry on Sundays. Hosting a VBS-style experience in July is one way we can intentionally attempt to teach boys and girls about His incredible love for us. And we have even more tweaks and alterations coming in August and September.

Gatherings for the Young and Small

For the month of August, we will host Kids Ministry in the library for a “mini-Gathering”. What we as adults get to experience and participate in on Sundays (listening to teachings, worshiping with songs) will be adapted for kids. Our vision is that this shared understanding of what it means to gather together will help families as a whole grow in their faith.

Whether we're gathering in the library or the auditorium, we have the opportunity to experience that thin space where heaven and earth meet.

"We hosted a Kids Gathering during our Acts series and found that these kids love to sing," Ethan said. "It will be a blessing to lift our voices in song together." 

Old School Meets New School

This brings us to September, where after much discussion and prayer, we are embarking upon a new rhythm for Kids Ministry. We have a small group of outstanding and dedicated teachers who have each committed to serving weekly for an entire semester.

These teachers will be a constant friendly face for our children—and parents—to get to know over the course of 12 weeks, or so. Many of these volunteers are parents themselves and they will be joined by rotating teaching assistants.

For Tammy Matthews, a mom and Kids Ministry volunteer leader, she believes this new structure will be a blessing to children and parents alike.

"The relationship possibilities are just so good," she said. "Having that consistent time week after week I think can help kids deepen in their own relationships. I still remember the Sunday school teacher I had growing up and the positive impact she had on my faith."

Did you know? In the past six months, infants through fifth-graders have attended Kids Ministry 932 times.

Routine and consistency will be a great benefit to the kids and Tammy thinks it will strengthen the Kids Ministry experience for parents, too.

"Kids Ministry volunteers will have a lot of time that they will be putting into these relationships—not just with the kids but also among the volunteers themselves," Tammy explained. "This new structure will also give more opportunities for parents and volunteers to get to know each other."

For Ethan this old school-new school model is simply another way theHeart is attempting to weave the lives of our church family together.

"As we attend to God and each other week after week, we pray that theHeart becomes an even closer-knit family for kids and their parents," Ethan said.


Next Generations at theHeart

Reconciling people to God and each other through Christ's Love extends to even the youngest among us. That is why theHeart is committed to the spiritual formation of the next generation through Kids Ministry, Youth Ministry, and theInternship.

Please be in prayer about how you might be involved with this vital ministry as a volunteer, a financial supporter, a prayer warrior, and any other way God leads you.

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