One of my greatest joys in pastoring Orlando North Church is knowing how much prayer, attention, and effort is given to reaching and teaching the children in our church God has entrusted us with through our GUTS (Growing Under The Son) Children's Ministry. From day one, we have made a commitment to prioritizing our reach to children knowing the vast majority of Christians started following Jesus at a young age thus making what we do for our kids absolutely critical.
We want our kids to love coming to church. We want Sundays (and now Wednesdays) to be the day they look forward to the most knowing they get to go to GUTS where they'll have a blast, worship Jesus with songs made just for their generation, and learn to walk with the Lord more and more each week. We are committed to reaching these kids, and we've been flexible in the methods used for each season.
Abby Pflug, our Children's Minister, and her incredible team of leaders have been working so hard to implement a brand new way of reaching our kids for Jesus. It's really a simple tweak in the methods, but we believe the impact is significant (and eternal).
So, what has changed? Glad you asked.
Sunday Morning GUTS - Orlando North has a ministry philosophy that allows Sunday mornings to be committed specifically to worship. On Sundays we want the church to have an encounter with God that brings them awe and wonder.It is that encounter that drives our relationship. Out of this we then encourage our congregation to be plugged into Connect Groups (small groups) where Biblical discussions and relationships occur. Historically, GUTS has had small groups, but they have met on Sunday mornings which left limited time for that awe and wonder experience we desire Sundays to be about. Also, it was difficult to engage in in-depth discussions with time and space constraints. We want better for our kids so Sundays will be designated solely to an encounter of awe and wonder with God through worship, Bible story, and activities that drive the day's given Gospel point home.
Small Groups - Don't panic, we haven't gotten rid of the small groups. In fact, we've gone to great lengths to make them better! Instead of rushing through small groups in a chaotic Sunday morning, Abby and the GUTS team is now hosting Connect Groups just for elementary-aged children on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7PM at the church. This coincides with the time Foundry Youth Group meets, so parents with children in both age brackets can make one trip. The youth group meets in the auditorium and the GUTS small groups meet in the various kids' classrooms. Boys will be with boy leaders, and girls with girl leaders. Much more discipleship can occur in this context.
The first small group meeting for our elementary-aged children is tonight at 7PM. If you're a parent of an elementary-aged kiddo, PLEASE have them here this evening. I promise this type of commitment from you, for your kids, pays huge spiritual dividends. Trust me, I am a product of parents who had me in discipleship groups on Wednesday nights growing up and my faith today stems from those special moments.
This is the best of both worlds - small group ministry for our kids hasn't left; it's only gotten better, and now the kids have a worship experience designed just for them on Sunday mornings. Let's all get behind our leaders in GUTS, get our kids involved, volunteer to help, and see what God does with this generation.