Redesign Your Children’s Space With a Few Simple Changes

Redesign Your Children’s Space With a Few Simple Changes

By Melinda Shunk

Children's Ministry Coordinator

Children’s ministry has taken many different approaches so far this year!

Ministry has moved to online worship, small groups handing out PPE, drive-by VBS curriculum pick-up, and even drive-in communion for families. However, what is not different in ministry are caring Children’s Ministers planning ahead for a time when we can all come together in a space and learn the scripture, share a snack, play a game, and maybe even a side hug!

I want to share with you three Children’s Ministers who not only have moved their ministry to online classes but when they are not behind the camera they are redesigning their educational spaces in their churches. So often evaluating the use of a space and its aesthetics gets put at the bottom of the list of things that need to be done. Tiffany Jones, Stephanie Dunn, and Jessica Butler are Children’s Ministers who took advantage of weeks of empty classrooms and a little creativity sparked by Pinterest.

Bryant First UMC Before

Bryant First UMC Before

Bryant First UMC After

Bryant First UMC After

Jacksonville First UMC Before

Jacksonville First UMC Before

Jacksonville First UMC After

Jacksonville First UMC After

They never have time during normal ministry seasons to freshen up an entrance hallway or go through old material that has been “stored” in what was once a viable classroom. It may take time, but eventually, we will all be together again. Why not use this time to clean and redesign? Use it as a promotion when you get to open the Children’s Ministry programming again! Here are five helpful suggestions:

 

  1. Organizing materials helps you know what you have and how to get to them quickly. You end up spending less of your education budget on duplicate items.
  2. A fresh coat of paint and a decluttered space creates a warm and welcoming environment for children and adults who volunteer in the space.
  3. No need for big-budget renovations. A can of $35 paint, wall stickers ($100), and new curtains is all you need! (ask the church sewing group. I am sure they will donate supplies and talents). The Dollar Tree or Five Below have many affordable storage containers for classrooms.
  4. Normally children’s education rooms are left to that ministry to choose how it is decorated, but always check with your senior pastor before painting over something that you may not know has historical value to the church.
  5. Often purging outdated material, re-homing furniture, and stocking the room with spiritually inspirational material is all a room needs.

Beebe First UMC

“Embraced in Grace”

You are embraced in grace by Jesus. Even as imperfect as you are, you are embraced in grace by Jesus. Even as you are not aware of it, you are embraced in grace by Jesus. Even as you make terrible choices, you are embraced in grace by Jesus. Even as you sin, you are embraced in grace by Jesus. Even as you turn away from him, you are embraced in grace by Jesus. Indeed, you are embraced – literally overwhelmed – in grace by Jesus. You would think you would let the gift of this amazing grace in Jesus absolutely impact every single interaction you have with every single person you have every single time. 

Methodist Family Health Pursues Pen and Prayer Pals for Arkansas Children, Teenagers

Methodist Family Health Pursues Pen and Prayer Pals for Arkansas Children, Teenagers

Little Rock, AR (June 29, 2020) – After almost four months of social distancing and sheltering in place, the children, teenagers and families in our care at Methodist Family Health are in need of encouragement and human connection. If you or your kids are looking for a meaningful way to help others during this pandemic, you can make a connection with a child or teenager who is struggling with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional or spiritual issues and become a pen and prayer pal.

Here’s how it works:

– Click on this link: https://forms.gle/jYSZYCG3n9Twp2hW7 then:

– Choose someone you would like to write. We have included in this Google form the initials, ages and genders of our participating clients to help you choose.

– Write the person a letter. Your letter can include things like encouragement, good news you have heard, a small story you thought was funny and would like to share, or a simple prayer filled with kindness. A little positivity can go a long way, and there are examples in the Google form if you are looking for inspiration.

– You can submit your letter using the Google form at this link – https://forms.gle/jYSZYCG3n9Twp2hW7 – or write a note and mail it to:

Prayer Pals
3505 Clearwell Road
Conway, AR 72034

Methodist Family Health is a statewide continuum of care serving Arkansas children and families struggling with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues. Our mission is to provide the best possible care to those who may need our help, and with the help of Arkansas’s children and families looking for a simple project to do during the summer, we will be able to fulfil this mission by providing our clients the support they need.

For more information, contact Amy Shores, director of pastoral care, at AShores@MethodistFamily.org.

Go Slow, Go Fast

Go Slow, Go Fast

By Gary E. Mueller

Bishop of the Arkansas Annual Conference

The beautiful opening words of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes offer profound wisdom about the nature of life, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”

We have learned that we can’t control when the seasons of life take place, especially the painful and challenging ones. We have discovered that they come and go; when one ends, another quickly begins. And we have come to understand that we must adapt to the seasons as they are, and not how we would like them to be.

So what season are we in now? If we are in tune with what is going on around us, we realize we are in two seasons at the same time. The first is the season of COVID-19. The second is the season when the world has finally embraced the absolute necessity of dismantling racism and moving toward a new vision of living as a reconciled people.

It’s critically important to remember something as we figure out how we adapt to these two seasons that are so shaping our lives. Our relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior changes how we see, feel, think and act. This means we don’t just follow conventional wisdom. Instead, we do all we can to make sure we live the Jesus’ way in response to these two significant seasons.

What does this mean in the season of COVID-19? Quite simply, we go slow because the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Indeed, it has entered a new and dangerous stage. Dozens of churches in Arkansas have been places where people have been exposed to COVID-19, mostly because they have not followed the basic safety protocols outlined by Governor Hutchinson.

Like all of you, I long to gather face-to-face with sisters and brothers in faith as we pray, worship, study and serve. But in this season, Jesus’ words about loving our neighbor means we go slow. Let’s take small steps – making sure we do it with our masks on. Better to go slow and then speed up, than to go too quickly and have to deal with the illness or death of someone you love.

And what does living the Jesus’ way mean for this season of our increasing awareness of racism following the deaths of George Floyd and others at the hands of the police? Quite frankly, addressing racial injustice has been on hold too long – far too long – and we dare not waste this moment. We must go fast as we address our role in it, as painful as that may be. We must go fast in coming to grips with how racism is part and parcel of our culture, government, private sector, and the church. And we must go fast to live out Jesus’ call to be a reconciled community in which ethnicity and race are not dividers, but wonderful gifts within the Body of Christ.

We are blessed because we have been embraced by Jesus and the fullness of his unconditional, invitational and transformational love. We are privileged to be called by him to follow him in everything we do. We have important seasonal work to do right now. There is a place for all of us to make a difference. For God’s sake, let’s show the world how to go slow and how to go fast.

Good News

Jesus took the initiative to leave his rightful place with God, became one of us, lived right in the middle of real life, confronted those who talked about God only when it benefited them, reached out to include those whom proper people ostracized and died that we might receive the salvation we need but can never get on our own. And yet, I know I have coated Jesus with so many layers of my own beliefs, comfort zones and sin that sometimes he gets lost in the shuffle of my daily life. But even when he does because of what I’ve done, he never gives up on me. Or on you. Or on anybody. And that’s why the gospel is called Good News!