[SUMMER 2020] Children’s ministry in the COVID-19 era
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – “Success is simply defined by faithfulness,” Children’s Pastor Brad Franklin shared. At Geyer Springs First Baptist Church, Pastor Brad and his team have simply been striving for faithfulness to the Lord – especially during this pandemic.
“We are kind of pastoring two different groups of people right now: those ready to come back, and those who are not quite comfortable with coming back yet,” Pastor Brad shared. “In both scenarios, we have approached this summer with the question ‘what are we biblically commanded to do?’ We saw it was caring for people and giving them good content. We try to shepherd and teach as faithfully as we can, whether they are here in person or not.”
In the children’s ministry at Geyer Springs, they strive to be God exalting, to provide biblical education, to engage them with the gospel, to emphasize the family unit, to encourage church, to have administrative excellence and to provide mission experiences.
With each event or resource they provide, they try to plan with flexibility. They have attempted to design events that can easily be flipped into virtual events, if needed. When they meet in person for events, they closely follow state guidelines regarding the coronavirus pandemic. “We are trying to replicate what we normally do, with changes,” Pastor Brad stated. “The main challenges have been due to constant change.”
But challenges don’t have the final word.
God is still actively working in the lives of people during this pandemic. “One of the biggest successes is that this has slowed us down to think of the most important things and focus on teaching and caring for the people,” Pastor Brad shared. “This is a primary time for parents to step up and be the primary disciplers of their kids… for the ones who have done this, it has been a blessing to see them step up and do this.”
Along with parents taking more responsibility in discipling their kids, they have continued to provide various resources and events to help guide their children spiritually. At Geyer Springs, they have a three minute slot in each service where a different staff member stands up to speak specifically to kids that are watching the service. Initially, they did an online devotional series with kids, as well as Zoom Bible studies and hangouts. Their staff has sent handwritten notes to kids, and they have also done something called “chalk and run,” where they wrote some encouragement with chalk on a kid’s driveway and drove away. In addition to those activities, they also had staff members sign up to read children's books online to their kids.
This summer, they will also have an event called “Impact Week,” which will be a week of small group mission opportunities for kids. There will be packets available for families to pick up. Within the packet, there will be multiple projects and ideas for serving that families can do together. Following Impact Week, they will also have a reduced version of Vacation Bible School at the end of July. This will be called “Camp Geyer.”
In a time where many kids are feeling disconnected, local churches can provide resources to encourage and equip parents and children for spiritual growth. As Pastor Brad said, “when things feel like they are spiraling out of control, we have to remember that God is sovereign and has ordained this moment. Regardless of what church size you are in, there are two things that will last forever: the Word of God and the souls of people.”