By Melinda Shunk
Children's Ministry Coordinator
We stand at the beginning of a fresh new year, hopefully feeling refreshed after some rest at home with family for the holidays.
The year 2020 marched in with the assumption that we would be carrying out ministry like we always have been doing. Many Children’s Ministers and volunteers left the Beyond Conference full of new ideas and approaches to apply to our work in ministry, all to have it come to a screeching halt in March.
March and April pulled us all inside so we caught up on all the back-burner projects that never got done. Lockdown brought us to clean out the classroom, supply closets, and read books that needed to be read.
No Easter egg hunts, Good Friday service, or Easter morning worships. It was hard to wrap our brains around the cancelations and part of our thoughts were that it would just be back to normal in May.
In early May, we were corrected. Ministry, especially VBS, would not be in-person. Teams of creative people got together to make a creative online interactive material Vacation Bible school for late in the summer when kids needed to come inside their homes to cool down with a good Bible story and song.
Just as our newly acquired video skills had been perfected we had to think about back to school. How can we support parents? We did porch visits, we sent texts, we didn’t plan anything until October as to not overwhelm families balancing work, school, and keeping healthy.
October let us enjoy the great Arkansas outdoors with masked outdoor lessons and parking lot worships.
November we carefully planned Advent-in-a-Box to help build family faith formation at home.
December, we planned our first ever online Christmas programs and carefully created drive-by Nativity scenes for our communities.
When reviewing what you have all done in ministry this year, you should be so impressed with your ability to pivot! With each new challenge you were given, you all got creative and kept moving forward in your ministry to others. Sure, you had fears and maybe even some tears in the process. You didn’t let those unknowns halt the work that God has called you to do. You tried new things and looked outside the box of “this is how we always do it”. Some you found to be a success while others were not.
Stop and take a breath and really look at all the ways God worked through you to redeem such a hard year in the church. You have not sat and spun your wheels, you have created new ways to make disciples who make disciples.
I am not a fortuneteller, nor a prophet, however, I can say I know what is to come in 2021! You have perfected your pivot, you have tried uncomfortable approaches, you have created new ways to teach, you have learned how to video edit, you have gained your voice in the church body!
My prayer is that 2021 brings you all of these skills you have learned to a place of ease and comfort as you attempt them again. I pray that you see the leaps of faith you took in 2020 and take them again fearlessly in 2021.