Children's Ministry Letter

Dear Families of St. Paul

God has been convicting me for a number of year to let Deuteronomy 6 be the foundation for ministry decisions that are made—both at St. Paul and for my family. It is our job to teach, equip and instruct the next generation. Jesus himself reaffirms this in Matthew 28 when he says: “Go and make disciples…and teach them to obey everything I’ve commanded…”

Our role as Christians is to learn, grow and apply God’s Word in all areas of our lives. But it doesn’t stop there. We need to take what we are learning and equip our kids to do the same. And even further, we need to be rubbing shoulders with and encouraging and equipping people in our spheres of influence (like sports teams, music ensembles, teachers/schools, small group/Bible Study). In the end, we’re a part of a cycle of discipleship and mentoring.

Four years into my role at Director of Children & Family, this vision and focus is becoming increasingly clear. The words discipleship, mentoring and equipping are key. The areas of impact to be considered are both the ministries of St. Paul AND our day to day lives.

With this being said, my role at St. Paul is not to lead all the ministries that occur. My role is to encourage, disciple and equip you, as brothers and sisters, to live out your faith and create opportunities for you to likewise pass on your faith to your kids and to others. My role is not to create ministries that further fill an already very full calendar. Rather, my role is to help discern what families of St. Paul need to learn and grow in their faith and be equipped to help pass it on to their kids, fellow believers at St. Paul as well as others in the world around them.

Where are you at?

What strengths and wisdom do you have to pass on to others? Do you feel equipped to do this? Are you aware of the opportunities that currently exist at St. Paul and in your everyday life to mentor and disciple?

In what ways can you use encouragement, mentoring and wisdom A)to lead your family in this mentoring cycle B)to be an active part of the mentoring cycle at St. Paul C)to go, make and teach those around you about the Lord, including at work and school.  

This may sound intimidating. But that’s why we are a team. That’s why we need wisdom and encouragement from others around us.

Where is God leading us?

A) I would like to connect with some of you to discern what types of activities/ministries should come from the Children & Family Ministry area that best support and provide opportunities to do what is stated above. Once identified, we will then begin the mentoring process as we seek out people to train and lead.

B)I would like you to consider different opportunities that are currently being offered.   Look at this list on the other side and see if there is an area where you can share a gift or where you would like to try and be mentored or offer vision and insight. If there isn’t something below, there are many other areas churchwide where we’d love to come alongside you. It is our hope that being connected and mentored within church will help equip you to be lights to your family and in the various communities outside of St. Paul that you are connected with.

 

Discerning/Visioning Team: Help discuss vision and purpose of Children’s Ministries as they connect to St. Paul and our lives beyond. Help choose activities/opportunities to support the vision/purpose and engage in the process of finding and/or mentoring others in helping to carry them out.

Vacation Bible School at St. Paul (Summer): This ministry has been on a roller coaster in regards to identity and numbers at St. Paul. We’ve done sports camps, dance camps, traditional and more. Last year, because of time challenges and a need for leadership, we did not have VBS here. This is a ministry that we continue to discern where the Lord is leading us.

Co-Op VBS-with area LCMS Churches (June 11-15, 1-3pm at Good Shepherd): This long-time ministry recent disbanded, but there is an opportunity to forge a new identity and ministry combined with the current Sheboygan Hispanic Ministry and the leadership of Vicar David Blas. Would you consider being mentored in helping out with this ministry which offers opportunity to serve and fellowship with people beyond the St. Paul community.

Family Events (about once a month): Help plan/lead an opportunity for families to be in Fellowship and/or service together. You can work with/help lead one particular event. Or you can help encourage the general occurrence of these events. These include what we already do: Kick Ball, Swimming, Bowling, Pumpkin Farm, Mission events (Feed My Starving Children and Camp Daniel), and any other ideas people would like to consider (BINGO, Roller-skating, Game Night, Family Olympics, Cookie Decorating, Super Bowl Fellowship, make a family crest, etc.)

Child Care (Various Times): This “behind the scenes” ministry is an integral part of the bigger picture ministry. It allows parents that wish to volunteer for AWANA & Confirmation the opportunity to use those gifts while knowing that their younger kids will be cared for. Second, it allows parents of younger kids to attend Bible Study/Small Group, allowing their focus to be on the study and not worrying about their kid. In essence, by providing child care, you are helping the Good News to be shared.

Sunday School/AWANA (Sundays/Wednesdays): Anyone who has ever taught or assisted with these ministries would state that they learn just as much as the kids do. As experience is gained, preparation can become more minimal. A lot of training and mentoring is provided for all (even returning teachers) to help those that feel this is a step outside their comfort zone and to encourage continued growth. Come sit in for a week or two to see if either one of these is a fit. We’ve got great people in place now that would love to help train/mentor you. The more people involved in the process, the more ministry can multiply.

Christmas Service (December): This one time a year ministry can seem overwhelming on the surface. But when broken down into a team of tasks, it is actually very manageable. The Lord has blessed it the last few years. The question sometimes is: “Can we do more?”

Small Group Fellowship/Study (Various Times): This is a more intimate way to connect with fellow believers. Meet in smaller settings to build relationships and/or to learn and apply God’s Word. These groups can also offer natural mentoring relationships that encourage us in carry Biblical values into the world around us.

Other: All of the above ministries have a close tie to Children and Family Ministry, but our faith walk is not tied to a single area or box. There are numerous other areas that existed and being considered, connected with younger kids through senior citizens. And this is not to mention the whole other area of being mentored to disciple in areas outside of St. Paul. I’d love to explore these options with you.

I am praying for you and the other families of our church. Please let me know a next step you’d like to consider in uniting our relationship in Christ with the world around us.

A friend in Christ

Jeff Diener

jeffd@stpaulfalls.com

920-467-6449 x115