Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Jumping into the Unknown with an Ancient map pt 1

We are jumping into the unknown but with an ancient map - the scriptures and what we believe to be Biblical models. It is the Living Word and His Spirit that will ultimately keep steering and adjusting us, hold us steady, keep us on course, and give us confidence when we want to give up. All of our young pastors have young children or children close that they care about. They have assured us that they will not contine on this course if they don't believe that this approach will enable their children to draw near to God, encounter Christ, and walk with Him, help grow healthy families, and contribute to a healthy community.

[a simple cut and paste was more challenging than I anticipated. If the format gets screwed up I apologize now.]

Current Plan for Kids at Artisan
August 2005

3rd Revision including Pastors' philosophy, comments from Mike (worship leader), parents' & Rogers' initial reactions, (it's all mixed in...)

Pastors' philosophy:

"At Artisan Church we recognize the tremendous value of families learning and growing together. So, we are endeavoring to create a worship space that welcomes and encourages the spiritual health and growth of individuals as well as entire family groups. We recognize that some of the means to accomplish this value are different than those of many familiar with Children's Ministries and very counter-cultural to much of what we see in society today.

We realize that much of society encourages the use of childcare in order to provide appropriate, age-specific play and instruction for chldren while allowing the adult to focus his/her attentions completely on the task at hand (work, shopping, worship, etc.) While this may be a societal norm, we believe another solution is more Biblical and healthier for the child, the adult(s), and the church body.
Healthier Children

Children need the contact of their parents or guardians for emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Amidst daycare, school, extracurricular activities, and hobbies we believe the worship gathering should stand as a place to unify a family in a society that favors fracturing it. Unfortunately many of the models of children's ministry in North American Evangelicalism do just that. From Infant Care all the way up through High School Youth Ministry, children are separated from adults and the adult worship gathering. We have lost sight of the biblical instruction to train up our children, passing on our faith to the third and fourth generations.

Healthier Adults

Unfortunately, Christianity today has turned overwhelmingly inward focused. The myth is that in order for a person to grow spiritually one must always do so on an individual basis (this also often results in a "me" centered approach to worship (e.g. I only worship with hymn/rock/praise/organ music, I didn't get much out of worship today, etc.) "

We recognize that a parent/guardian watching a one year old, for example, will not be able to focus 100% of his or her attention on the worship or message (God knows that, too mh) However, we also recognize the incredible blessing of a parent/guardian/child(ren) learning and growing as a family. Keeping the family together will naturally allow conversation about what was spoken, sung, or enacted during a Sunday worship time to flow into the remainder of the week and life. Children that have always observed their parents praying, singing, and learning will be more likely to desire to do the same as they mature. "

Healthier Church

The trend in modern evangelicalism is for churches to have to reinvent themselves every twenty years or so. We believe this is because the current chldren and youth ministry model separates children from the adult worship. As children grow into adults, especially during the formative teen years, our youth begin to identify and come to embrace their place of worship and ministry which, unfortunately, is something completely different from the adult worship. The result is a generation of youth that leave the youth program after High School and enter a worship space and style they have never known. This also creates a void in the adult worship where subsequennt generations have not been involved in the gradual maturation and shaping of the church. Instead of change occurring in smaller increments that speak to and reach the younger generations, huge leaps of style and method are now necessary (e.g. the "Traditional" vs. "Contemporary" worship controversy)"

Allowing our children to influence the shape and style of our worship gatherings encourages a sense of place and ownership. Theoretically it will avoid the problem of a church worship style losing touch with the world it finds intself in."

[My understanding is that if you'd like the scriptures you can ask Brian.]

A random but I think appropriate scripture as most of our children are 0-8.

Isaiah 40:10-12 (NIV)

"See, the sovereign LORD comes with power,
and his arm rules for him.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young."

The first time I really noticed this, when my kids were little. The better part of every two years I had a nursing baby for about 9 years and the translation I happened to read: "nursing ewes". The picture of Jesus for me at the time was profound (for lack of a better word).

The Plan

This isn't a set of rules. It isn't a how to. It's a rough draft of a moving picture that's still in progress.

To include children as important members of the Artisan Community
To equip/enable/encourage/support parents

Current Community Activities
Sunday Worship
Sunday Night Meal
House Blend
Immersed Events
Service Sunday gathering/meal
Service (outside projects)
Opportunities for Artisan folks to initiate activities for kids/families (with background check)

Scriptures: Deut 31: 11-13, Ezra 10, Joel 2: 15:17, Neh 12:42-44, Matt 14:20-21, Matt 21: 15-17, Matt 19:13-15

Sunday Worship

Assuming parents/guardians/parent designees (as in designated) will be responsible for thier own children during worship but the worship space will not exclude others

We may have designated adults (with background check and ID photo on lanyard) who are watching and available to answer questions or help.

Babes in arms

-remain with p/g/pd (parents/guardian/parent designee)
-clearly mark rooms for nursing moms (signs)
-"Do not disturb" signs for room(s)

-P/G/PD and young children enjoy a worship space (not a nursery) in the foyer
-P/g/pd bring their own soft/quiet toys/snacks/drinks
-Adults are encouraged to worship. Children have the option to observe quietly, worship, play with respect for the space and for others
-P/g/pd encourage singing, dance, rhythm instruments as appropriate in service (loud, soft, fast, slow, stop)
-Notice images on video screen
-Worship table?
church seasonal colored cloth
lamp or candle
offering basket (coins or other child chosen offerings)
CM staff
-set up TV/audio monitor of service
-turn furniture
-add sanctuary chairs by windows
-hang posters (stained glass/creation/people/Israel travel pictures)
-quiet toys from nursery
-message toys
-child table/chairs
-dress up cloths ?

Children 6-12
-Make worship more kid-friendly
-Include biblical story and "I wonder" question(s)
-Create art/craft tables in the back of the room
Table #1 children 4-10 work with p/g/pd/CM worker
Table #2 children who can work quietly and independently have the option of working alone or with a CM worker
The table is a place where a child can ask questions/respond to message/or Biblical story creatively
-If a child is disruptive parent removes them from sanctuary. When issue is resolves, they return

Children Middle School/High School
Sit with parent or participate in service

-All of these spaces are designated as worship spaces. P/g/pd must understand that these are not nurseries or sunday school areas but worship areas - a place to ponder the Living God. -Come to draw near to God.
-Come expecting God to meet you.
-God has promised that if we draw near to Him, He'll draw near to us.
-Wherever two or more are gathered in His name there He is in your midst
-Let the little children come to Him. Parents brought their children to Jesus and Jesus welcomed them. The disciples tried to keep them away.
-Think simple: encourage your child to be still, to pray, to dance, clap hands, to sing, to use a rhythm instrument, to listen to the pastor's stories.
-Encourage them to play, act out the story, to use puzzles or art/craft materials to respond to what they hear. (Caleb heard his Dad tell the story of the worm he found in the garden. Dad was talking about Awe. Caleb was in awe. Caleb heard his dad telling the story on the TV monitor and he commented to his friend. A possible invitation to Caleb and his friend: Would you like to draw a worm? It will help you remember the story or they might be perfectly content building the lego train.)
-Romans 12:1-2 we worship the Lord in whatever we do


There was a whole lot more here until I pushed the "save draft" - 2 hours of work "Poof!"... I'm away Fri/Sat and have to frantically get someone to work, go to a meeting, call the vet and hope I don't have to go back to the vet (we were there yesterday) get kids to the store, off to camp, off to college 1 hr, off to college 6 hr, if you don't see me Sunday...oh and there's Monday night... I'll try to get the rest up Tuesday if not before...maybe it was too long...maybe it was the hacker...I didn't plan well this month...

You can add comments anytime from this point on!


  1. Actually, while in college, I learned a bit about how churches were run and church plants and the whole thing, and most people involved said that the best thing for a new church was having a really solid children's ministry, and that would get people in and feeling good.

    On that note, I'm glad that Artisan's decided not to go that route, but to take the role of children in Christianity seriously. I'm glad for the affirmation that children are as much a part of a community as adults, but the essential part is the community. There was more I had thought to write, so when I think of it, I'll tell you or I'll drop another comment here.

  2. The advantage of commenting here is that everyone can hear it. You can tell me too and I'll process it and add it but even if I try to quote you it probably won't be the same.