Category Archives: Children’s Ministry

As They Grow, I Grow

by Nelson Kha

It is crazy how six months has gone by since my first day in the Sonlight ministry. For those who know me, I have always been very involved with the music ministry at the church, but the thought of working with kids has never been at the forefront of my mind. Just a little over a year ago, I prayed and asked God to reveal to me where He could use me to help and serve in other ministries other than the praise ministry. The timing was perfect because in the last few members meetings, Ryan shared during the ministry updates that the Sonlight ministry was in need of some help due to the large number of children now at the church. In the little time I have been involved with Sonlight, there are a few things that I was able to glean from it, including how the Sonlight ministry has been a profitable time for me.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Being at the church for close to 8 years now, I have been given the wonderful privilege of seeing many of the children grow from infants to toddlers, and now to school-age children. They know the Bible! They know the stories! I can recount quite a handful of incidents in which even the youngest ones can retell what they have learned in the last few months. Sometimes, they even remember the stories and lessons better than me! In addition to the teaching time, the Sonlight ministry does a great job having supplemental activities and discussion times when the kids can further participate in applying the lesson to their day-to-day lives. It is during those moments that we as teachers can be a little more intentional with them, helping them better understand the Bible lessons and apply them to their lives. Now at this point, whether they have come to an understanding of the gospel or not, what is encouraging is seeing the children ministries at our church hold fast to the Word and raising the children up in the knowledge of our Lord. As the children continue to learn to love the Lord and others, it’s also a personal reminder for me to love in the same way and consider the lessons being taught.

Lessons after lessons, you will normally see the kids excited to participate and hear God’s Word being taught. They would come in the room, sign-in, grab their seats and are excited to learn. At times I wonder about our own attitude when it comes to hearing God’s Word preached. Do we share the same enthusiasm as these kids do? Why not? Seeing their excitement is definitely refreshing and it is an area where I am being challenged to cultivate an enthused and excited attitude towards the Word of God.

A typical day in Sonlight usually starts with the lesson being taught during first hour. Currently, we are studying through the book of Acts, though we did take a small break during the Easter season. What was helpful though was that the kids were able to follow-up with the life of Christ, then continue on with how the early church was started after Christ’s ascension. Like Ryan’s past Beacon article mentioned, this journey through Acts shed some light into God’s work in Paul’s life and in how God intended to accomplish the mission to make disciples of all nations through the vehicle of his Church. My prayer is that as we finish up our study in Acts, God will use the remaining time to teach the children to see how He intends to draw all nations to Himself and through it, they may see the sovereignty of God. After the lesson, we usually have an activity, which consists of either a game or something that will supplement the lesson. This is a good time for the kids to expel some of that pent-up energy! Right after that, we have a time of praise and then go straight into second hour. Second hour is usually where we have snack time and really get to know the kids during table time. As I mentioned before, this is where the teachers can help the kids apply the Bible lesson to their lives, as well as a chance for us to get to know the kids better.

As this school year concludes and promotion Sunday approaches, I highly encourage those that have been on the fence on whether to serve in a new ministry to serve in Sonlight! This ministry is a great place to witness God’s saving work in the lives of future generations, growing them to love Him and His people. As these kids continue to grow (physically and spiritually), God continues to use them and this ministry to grow myself. I can’t help but say that it is truly a sanctifying process, as I sometimes feel like I gain more from it than what I put in. Long story short, join us!

Fireflies Nursery Update

By Sallie Yang

Lighthouse Bible Church, San Diego (LBCSD) has an ever- growing Fireflies ministry of children aged three and under. The Fireflies ministry is comprised of two groups, N1 and N2. In N1, we care for babies from birth until they can walk; and in N2, we care for those who can walk until they are three and potty-trained. As our church continues to grow, so does the number of children in our care and subsequently, our need for more nursery workers. We seek faithful women who are LBCSD members and have a heart to care for these children to join nursery. If you are interested, please contact Carol Lim, our lead nursery coordinator.

Truly, there is never a dull moment when serving in Fireflies. By the end of nursery, I often have to go home and take a nap! The babies and toddlers command our full attention with all of their energy, personalities, and cute and crazy baby–and toddler–ways. They are a handful, but a joy to take care of. Personally, I enjoy the time I get to interact with them one on one, even if it is just to console them as they are crying. It is a way that I get to display Christ to them and to practice kindness, patience, and love, which are fruits of the Spirit. It is my hope that the kids will have a positive view towards nursery and love being at church.

In nursery, we have the awesome opportunity to share the love of Christ with the children through our interactions with them and teaching time. In N2, we teach simple lessons about God and Jesus to build a foundation for what they will continue to learn as they move on from nursery into Sparklers and beyond. This month we are teaching the kids that God made everything based on Genesis 1. We start the lesson by sharing how in the beginning there were no trees, flowers, dogs, daddies, mommies, and babies. But, there was God. And, God is big and strong. God created the trees, flowers, dogs, daddies, mommies, and babies. God created everything! Our memory verse, Genesis 1:1, ties in beautifully with the lesson this month. It is put to a simple melody and sung with hand motions. The Fireflies memory verse songs can be found in the Resource section on the LBC Children’s page.

We teach the same lesson every Sunday for the whole month, adding a craft at the end of the month to reinforce the truths learned. The lesson becomes really familiar to them by the end of the month. I think it’s particularly encouraging when the kids are able to state the truth being taught even before we get there in the lesson. At the end of the lesson, the kids have the opportunity to color on the take home lesson sheet and memory verse paper. I often use this time to reiterate the truths to them. We encourage our staff to be intentional with the time we spend with the kids.

I love the chance to serve alongside the wonderful women in our Fireflies ministry. We have women from all affinity groups and walks of life. It has been great to meet and get to know ladies that I may not have had a chance otherwise to meet. I’ve been encouraged by their hearts to serve God and love people in caring for the youngest, most vulnerable of our church with such joy and sacrifice.

To God be the glory in all that we do!

The Connection of Acts

by Ryan McAdams

I previously mentioned that we would venture into the New Testament through our curriculum in our Sonlight elementary and Sparklers preschool ministries, and we did have a profitable study through the earthly life of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But our journey has taken us now to the book of Acts, into unfamiliar territory for many of our young souls.

Through our study, I hope both we the teachers and the students can more greatly appreciate the gracious gift that God has given us in this book. Without the book of Acts, we would all struggle to make sense of the New Testament, most likely inventing wild bridges to correlate the accounts of the life of Jesus to the letters (Epistles) that followed. We would laboriously hunt for the identity of that Paul fellow, and lose the drama of the incredible conversion that God orchestrated for him. Perhaps most significantly, while we would have the Great Commission that Jesus delivered to his followers, to make his disciples in every nation, we would lack some of the understanding of how God intended to accomplish that mission, namely the vehicle of his church.

Jesus reiterated his Great Commission to his disciples in Acts 1:8, saying “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And for the rest of the book, we read how the Holy Spirit brought believers together into churches, starting in Jerusalem, and propagating to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Traditionally, the church has entitled this chronicle by Luke The Acts of the Apostles, which we shorten to Acts. And while the apostles certainly performed many acts to advance the gospel throughout the earth, the Holy Spirit empowered and drove them to establish the churches all over the Roman Empire and beyond. So, arguably more accurately, some theologians have instead called the book The Acts of the Holy Spirit.

As our pastor Josh recently taught, borrowing a bit from John Piper, God has worked to bring all nations into the white-hot worship of himself throughout both the Old and New Testament ages. Through our study of Acts, hopefully the children can see how God intends to draw all nations to himself in this New Testament age and gain a greater measure of awe for God and his sovereign hand over human history.

Teach Them Diligently

by Leah Shen

LBC Nursery Ministry (Fireflies) serves the infants and toddlers of our church. The Fireflies ministry is divided into Nursery 1 (from birth to about 16 months old) and Nursery 2 (from about 16 months old to 3 years old). I am thankful to be able to serve with ladies of LBC through our Fireflies ministry. We endeavor to come alongside the parents and teach the children, at a young age, about God and truths of the Bible. We pray for their spiritual state and aim to be purposeful in the way we speak and interact with the children. We desire to nurture their spirit and continually point them to Christ.

With the seeds of God’s word, we hope to cultivate in them an awareness of God and our need for our savior, Jesus Christ, through lesson time, songs and Bible memorization. One lesson and one Bible verse are taught for each month. With repetition, truths about God are modeled over and over so that they may begin to understand that, for example, God made everything. A few of the other lessons are: Jesus is Alive, God is Everywhere, God Always Wins, God is Good, Jesus Loves Me, Only God is Big, Jesus is Here and Gods Knows Everything. In addition, we also teach the children scripture memorization through music and hand-motions. Parents can even review the songs on the website! For example, one lesson teaches about Jesus and Zacchaeus, and the memory verse from Proverbs 17:17a, “A friend loves at all times.” We use a curriculum reviewed by our children ministry leaders. What a delight to see the children interested and engaged during lesson time and scripture memorization.

During snack time and free-play time, teaching moments can arise. I view these moments as valuable times to reinforce and to teach the child about sharing, taking turns, and showing grace to one another by being gentle and kind towards each another. We also have an opportunity to pray together for the needs of the children. Praise God for His sovereign hand in their lives. Let us all faithfully pray for each one of them and for their salvation.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it,”(Proverbs 22:6). As a mom whose children have benefited from the Fireflies ministry’s dedication and commitment to serving the children, I am greatly encouraged and thankful. I am thankful that they are able to learn about God at a young age and hope they will hold on to His word in their hearts. Even times when my child may prefer not to be in the Nursery due to separation anxiety, the ladies were gracious in taking care of them. I am grateful to have been able to join in corporate worship during our Sunday services while my children were in Fireflies. By God’s grace, during their time in Fireflies, my children have been given more examples of having a high view of God, treasuring God’s word and keeping it in their heart. So as a mom, I am thankful for the children’s ministry at LBC who continually nurture and pray for their spiritual life. And as part of the Fireflies ministry, I am encouraged by the parents’ faithfulness in teaching their children about God and allowing us to come along side them. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” (Ephesians 1:3). Joy fills my heart because my resources in Christ are adequate. Let us be faithful to God and continually pray for one another, especially for the children that they may come to a saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that they may belong wholly to God.

How Sonlight Serves My Soul

by Justin Lin

Sonlight is one of our church’s Children’s Ministries, and we serve the elementary aged children of the church. It has been a little more than a year since I applied to be a part of Sonlight ministry, and it has certainly been a joyful year. I remember praying to God for ways to serve in the church – a few weeks later, God answered my prayer. I went to a Members’ Meeting and heard the ministry coordinator ask if anyone was interested in serving in Sonlight. I had never thought I was particularly gifted, or even had a specific heart for children’s ministry. But I learned God doesn’t just ask you to serve where you are gifted, but he asks you to serve where He sees fit. He commands you to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” (Matt 6:23), and will faithfully sanctify you through it. Here are a few of the ways God has blessed me and grown me through my time serving the children of the church –

Humility

“‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God.” (James 4:6-7a)

As I joined the ministry, I quickly learned that children usually aren’t “adult / people-pleasers,” yet. I had been asked to lead the singing time for the children on the piano, and for my first week, I had prepared meticulously, listening to the soundtracks on YouTube from Sovereign Grace. I learned “To Be Like Jesus,” and “W-I-S-D-O-M,” and practiced throughout the week. When Sunday morning came, everything went as I had practiced, and as I closed the singing time in prayer, to my shame, I thought about giving myself a pat on the back for how well I thought things went. As quickly as that thought came, I was met with a chorus of multiple children yelling “Mr. Justin, you played that too slow! We always sing it FASTERRRR!” I was so offended – in my mind, I thought they didn’t know what they were talking about, that I played it how it was “supposed” to be played. But God caused me to realize that even in these innocent comments, my purpose was to direct hearts toward glorifying Him, not myself. There was always and will always be room for me to grow, and if I were to be counted faithful each week, I would need to grow in humility before God and these children each week.

Truth

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, or joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Each week, one of the teachers will prepare a lesson from our curriculum, The Life of Christ. I’ve always been surprised at how these lessons are not only relevant for the children, but for the teachers as well. The truth of God does not change, whether you are a child or an adult – it is constant and always applies to your life. Just a couple weeks ago, we examined the different responses of the Pharisees, Judas, and Mary to Jesus Christ. In challenging the children to respond rightly to the Lordship of Christ, I was convicted to examine my own heart, and my response to Christ every day. When we teach lessons to the children, we strive to be doers of the words we teach, to submit to the word of God and grow in Christ-likeness. The lessons we teach in Sonlight are just as much for their souls as they are for us.

Love

“If you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46)

Many of the children in Sonlight are at the age when the “Sparklers’ cuteness” has somewhat faded, and the autonomous rebellion begins to shine. I learned that in their youth, they usually don’t thank you or give you the positive/polite feedback I’m used to hearing from adults. Thus, from a worldly perspective we have little or nothing to gain from them. However, true love and service expects nothing in return – as Dr. Street said, true love is not a “50-50 type of love.” The love we show these children should be a reflection of Christ’s love to us, that He loved us while we were in willful and sinful rebellion towards him. Our love for these children is nothing more than an extension of Christ’s love for us, a love that chooses to seek their good and benefit, no matter what they do or say towards us. It is a love of choice, that does not expect anything in return, and, Lord willing, if they are saved one day, I hope they can say that we showed love toward them. Serving in Sonlight helps us to practice Christ-like love.

I never expected to be blessed in these ways when I joined the Sonlight ministry, but God has been faithful to grow me in this time, in humility, truth, and love. During this time, I’ve seen that raising a child really takes the partnership of the church and family together to impress God’s truth upon young hearts in word and action. I pray that no matter how the demographic of our church may change in the years to come, that we would continue to be a church that loves the children of the church, and continues to help families to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” (Eph. 6:4). Praise God for our church, and all that he is doing in the lives of these children!

The Rules of Sparklers

by Paul Chen

  1. Obey the first time
  2. Be kind to everyone
  3. Do your best work
  4. HAVE FUN!

Throughout my five years as part of Sparklers staff, these four rules have been the backbone of how we structure the classroom and instruct the children. Before joining Sparklers, I did not have any experience interacting with kids, let alone leading a classroom full of 3-4 year-olds. When I started, the class was quite smaller than it is these Sundays. We used to meet in what is now the 2nd nursery room and typically had less than 10 kids. Our staff size was smaller with only 2-3 teachers per class. Today, we’re now in a new room and an “easy” Sunday consists of anything less than 20 children and five teachers. While the size of the room, children and staff have greatly increased, one thing that has always been consistent for as long as I have been in Sparklers is the importance of accurately handling and teaching God’s word.

Obey the first time

When you have a room full of 3-4 year-olds, chances are there will be a select few who are misbehaving. Whether it is asking a child to sit still and pay attention to the lesson or trying to encourage a child to participate in the activities, the instruction is not always followed. We try and reinforce that since their parents are listening to the adult lesson, they need to stay in here. We communicate to the kids that sometimes it is hard to obey because we want to do what we want, and we call that a “my way” heart. With a “my way” heart, God is not pleased and instead wants us to trust Him. God promises that for those who trust in Him, He will always help us when it is hard to obey.

Be kind to everyone

For the most part, the kids are pretty well behaved. There are however instances when the children do not get along. This usually happens during free time when we allow the children to play at different stations we have set up in the room. Inevitably, the boys will usually rush towards the wooden trains and gather as many as they can. Due to the limited number of trains and the desire to amass as many as each can, there will be crying and tattletaling about how so and so has more trains. We would try and get the two boys to talk it out with one asking if he can play with the trains and the other being kind enough to share. We remind the kids about the Passion Statement of our church, “to love God and people,” and sharing is an example of how we can love one another.

Do your best work

After the lesson, we usually get into small groups to go over the lesson and answer some follow-up discussion questions. During small group time we will have coloring sheets, memory verse tracing, or crafts. Some of the younger kids will usually take one crayon and color the entire page scribbling everywhere and say, “I’m done!” We go over with the kids that when we’re coloring or tracing, we want to do our best and stay inside the lines and not just “scribble scrabble.” We explain that God wants us to do our best in everything that we do because He is a perfect God. We may not be able to do everything perfectly, but we have to try to do our best.

HAVE FUN!

We try and make the environment as exciting and engaging as possible through the use of props, skits, crafts and games. The biggest challenge when preparing for a lesson is how do I make the presentation interactive that will hold their attention and at the same time simple enough that 3-4 year-olds will understand? One great example is from the flocks worksheet: “If a child were to ask you what you learned from this Sunday’s sermon, how would you explain it to them?” Even through these challenges, the times I have spent in Sparklers have been rewarding. The staff has been able to come alongside the parents and be able to invest in the younger generation.

Blessings from the Nursery

by Carol Lim

This month (August) marks my 10 years here at Lighthouse San Diego. Looking back at all those years of learning and serving at our church reminds me of the faithful One who saved me and sustains me. I’m humbled by the fact that when I first joined nursery soon after becoming a member in Oct 2006, I was looking forward to having fun playing with the babies and toddlers. Since then I have learned much about the importance of children’s ministry, particularly the nursery, and teaching the young ones about the truths of God that are grounded in His Word. God has also been teaching me over the years of how He chooses to use the believers in the local church to accomplish His work, with all the implications of serving and building up “one another” in the spirit of unity, as mentioned in Ephesians 4.

So I just wanted to share a few blessings of being in a part of this ministry:

I get to teach the children the truth about who God is

Whether the children are listening to the story of Namaan being healed from his owies (2 Kings 5:1-15), or of Zacchaeus being visited by his friend Jesus (Luke 19:1-9), the main character for every lesson is always God. He is the one always initiating the love, goodness, power, and friendship to the people. Last month in July we taught that God is everywhere through the story of Jonah. The children learned that although Jonah tried to run away from God in the hopes of hiding from Him, God is everywhere and no one can escape from His presence. Not only did they learn about His omnipresence, but the children also discovered that God is compassionate towards people who do not know Him and wants His people to tell them about Him!

God uses lessons like these not only to build biblical foundation for our children, but also to remind the grownups like me of His awesome character and how that should affect my thinking, attitude, and daily actions. The ultimate goal for our ministry is to draw children to the Savior through the filling of their minds with the truth of God’s Word. What we teach are simple truth statements and simple Bible stories, yet are filled with substantial nuggets of life-changing power. What an awesome privilege!

I get to serve alongside fellow sisters in Christ

Our staff is comprised of ladies from CollegeLife, SingleLife, and GraceLife, with a wide range of ages as well as walks of life. Some of us are married, some are married with children, and some are single and working, studying, or both. We even have a grandma!

We are a diverse group, yet like-minded about teaching and reaching the children with God’s Word. I’m truly thankful for each and every one of them. It’s really neat to see God-given gifts being used in various ways each Sunday. Those gifted with artistic talents come up with really creative ideas for crafts, and some utilize their organizational skills to help create our rooms to be more efficient, beautiful, and safe for the children.

With the recent departure of some college graduates moving out of town, we were a bit short-staffed, especially during the summer, but God is always so faithful in providing our staff needs year after year!

I get to connect with the parents and families as well as minister to them

We’ve been seeing a significant growth in the number of families at our church within the last 3-4 years, and it can sometimes get difficult to keep in touch with all of them. On the days that I serve, however brief it may be, I’m able to re-connect with many parents during their check-in/check-out times. I also enjoy meeting parents who are visiting for the first time as well as frequent attenders.

The nursery ministry seeks to serve the parents by freeing them to worship God without distraction. As they grow in the knowledge of God, He will then be able to use the parents to minister/reach out to others. We also aim to help parents bring about discipleship at home (Deut 6:4-9; 11:8-19; Ps 78:1-7). As they learn the importance of biblical parenting, this will allow more opportunity of parents to teach their children to worship, elicit faith, and to obey God.

Parents of young children oftentimes are attracted by a nursery ministry that is inviting, safe, friendly, and that is filled with warmth. As they hand their children to me, I want to establish and maintain trust with the parents!

I must admit, I’m pretty beat by the time the last child is picked up. The ladies in the room are so tired that we often burst out in laughter in sheer excitement that we get to go home and take a 2-hour nap! But I’m truly thankful for the opportunity to serve in this way, knowing that the seeds of His Word are planted in their hearts, and that God is faithful to save them according to His Will. What a privilege it is for me to know that despite all my shortcomings and weaknesses, God continues to grow me and use me in this local church that I love so much.

Two Objectives of Children’s Ministry

by Jeffrey Yeh

For the past couple of years, our K-5 Sunday School ministry has been teaching through the Old Testament. We have more recently been walking through the accounts of Jesus’s life and ministry. Because we cover such a wide breadth of material in the Bible, I have been thinking about how to keep the lessons grounded. How do we tie these varying Bible accounts together? What relation does the account of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years have to do with the account of Judah’s exile in Babylon? What relationship does God’s promises to Abraham have to do with the ministry of Jesus Christ?

Beyond these questions, our ministry has several teachers and support staff that we cycle through on a rotation each week to help with scheduling. Each teacher has his own personal style of teaching, and each staff member has one’s own unique style of leading discussions during small group time. Because the children will often interact with varying staff members and teachers on any given Sunday, what common mindset can the ministry servants share to present a consistent message each Sunday?

In meditating through these questions, I arrived at two general objectives to follow for Children’s ministry. I believe these objectives are applicable for any church ministry that is focused on ministering to elementary-aged school children but they can certainly be applied beyond this focus. And while there are certainly more objectives that a children’s ministry can follow, these two objectives provide a good starting point from which to build upon.

1. Teach children about mankind’s (and their own) sinful state

The Bible makes it clear: the chief problem of mankind is our sinfulness. Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This is evident even from Genesis through the texts of the Minor Prophets and up to the last book of Revelation. Our (mankind’s) enslavement to sin is even revealed in the Bible passages that are popularly used to teach Sunday school lessons to children. Listed are several examples:

  • In Genesis 6, the account of Noah, God decides to cast the Great Flood because of the sinfulness of mankind. (Genesis 6:5-8)
  • Pharaoh continually hardens his heart despite witnessing several plagues brought upon by his sinfulness. (Exodus 9:34)
  • In Exodus, even though the people of Israel witnessed several miracles to affirm the presence of God, they sinned and built an idol when they felt Moses was taking too long to come down from Mount Sinai. (Exodus 32:1-10)

Indisputably, the portrayal of mankind’s sin is evident throughout the pages of Scripture. Thus, glossing over it to only present the lighthearted themes of the Bible is a disservice to the children. That is not to say that we should focus only on the topic of sin and nothing else. Rather, in children’s ministry we need to present the Bible faithfully and accurately in an age appropriate way, and in doing so, there is absolutely room for accurately discussing the topic of sin in an age appropriate way. Should we fail to do so, the children entrusted to us may grow up failing to understand why they need a Savior. However, when teaching about sin we must be careful to avoid one common mistake.

It is a mistake of teaching children to avoid sin by action alone, without addressing the heart attitude. We need to avoid focusing only on the external behavior lest we make little Pharisees within our church walls. In 1 Samuel 16:7, the LORD says, “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” As a result of the Bible’s statement, we need to teach about the difference between a heart that seeks to worship God versus a heart that seeks to disobey. It is also important to keep in mind that our children are not always likely to sin in the same exact ways described in the Bible but the heart attitude behind each sin is universal. Instruction about selfish and idolatrous attitudes can easily be applied in the modern context. This past year, when our ministry taught about the idolatry of Israel and the surrounding nations, we would often question the children about how they might see idolatry manifested in today’s world. We have seen several of the children in our ministry begin to understand how idolatry manifests itself in through an obsessive desire for the attention of others at school, or through selfish possession of their toys.

2. Ultimately point children to their need for God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ

Many of the children in our ministry come from Christian households and have been attending church for most of their lives, and many will be able to do quite well in Bible trivia quiz, but that alone does not make them actually Christian. Let us not confuse Bible knowledge as the sole evidence of a changed heart filled with the Spirit of God. Our ministry understands that most of the children are probably not saved yet and thus we operate as an evangelism ministry.

Our children—who grow up around the church—hear so much about what is right and wrong but care must be given to remind them that they will never measure up to God’s standard of righteousness. Humanity’s insufficiency to save itself from its sin is evidenced by the repeated pattern of Israel and Judah to follow God faithfully for a short time only to turn away in a few generations. This insufficiency then requires us to point the children to the Gospel; focusing exclusively on morals is not a path we should take. Addressing the Gospel is possible even when focusing on an Old Testament curriculum as we did for the past few years. For example, when instructing about sacrifices under the Mosaic Law, there is an opportunity to refer to Hebrews 10:1-18 so that the children may see that Christ is the perfect sacrifice. Or similarly, teachers and parents can show the connection between the Abrahamic Covenant and Christ.

More recently, our ministry has been doing an in depth study of the Gospel by walking through the book of Matthew. It is our hope that this section of the curriculum will benefit the children who have mostly been learning about the Old Testament for the past few years. If it is our mission to make disciples of Christ, then logic follows that the children should know about Christ before they can know Christ.

“How they will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14)

In striving for this goal of a gospel-oriented ministry, it is important to remember that the ministry staff only has a short time to spend with the children each week. Those serving in children’s ministry should take heart and not get discouraged if fruit doesn’t always appear to manifest in the children’s lives. Parents who are saved will usually have far more time available to minister to their children. And ultimately, we must remember that God is the one who does the saving work, not us. This is according to Paul’s statement in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; and not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” So let us endeavor to pray and lift up the salvation of our children to God. Indeed, let us trust in God to save, for in Him we have a wonderful, merciful Savior.

Reflections of the Fireflies’ Ministry Over the Years

by Brenda Hom

God has given me the wonderful privilege of serving on the Fireflies Nursery Ministry since 2007. When I first joined the ministry, the church was located in the Scripps Ranch area, and the “nursery” was a small classroom filled with computers, electrical cords, and other potential choking hazards for young babies and toddlers. We had about five nursery-aged children at the time, and I enjoyed spending quality time with those children and watching them grow up in the church. As the years went by, God continued to be faithful, and grew our church both spiritually and in numbers. It is truly an honor to grow alongside the church body, and witness firsthand how God has brought up the Fireflies Ministry to what it is today.

When we moved to our current location in Sorrento Valley, the Fireflies Ministry was given the main large room, which we currently use today for the toddlers. By that time, the ministry had grown to be about 10 toddlers and five babies. The main room was divided into two sections, with one side for the infants, and the other side for the toddlers. These were exciting times, especially with our newly adopted curriculum that included Bible lessons and memory verses. Creative and musically talented church members set the memory verses to a tune, and the Fireflies memory verse song CD was made! Within the next few years, the nursery continued to grow, as new families joined the church, and singles became married families with children. With 15 toddlers and 10 babies, Fireflies had outgrown the main large room. Once the LBC San Jose church plant started, the Sparklers ministry moved into Pastor John Kim’s old office, and Nursery 1 (infants) moved next door into the old Sparklers room. Currently, the Fireflies ministry now has 15 babies in N1, and 20 toddlers in N2.

As I reflect upon how much the Fireflies ministry has physically changed over the years, I am grateful for God’s constant faithfulness, unchanging character, and unfailing love towards His church. God has given us His Word to teach the youngest members of our church about who He is, His character and attributes, and who His Son Jesus Christ is. Our hope is that some day, these little ones would grow up to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and become disciples of Christ.

Old Elucidates the New

by Ryan McAdams

Having spent the better part of the last three years in lessons upon the Old Testament, our curriculum will bring us to the incarnation of Jesus Christ at the start of April. Some may wonder why we spent so long outside of the New Testament, and I will certainly grant that our journey took a bit longer than we expected. But even so, it felt like we had to rush through certain books and skipped most of the prophets. In spite of all of that, I hope that our children have gained at least a small understanding of God’s hand throughout the entirety of history.

For myself, I grew up in the church and heard all about Moses, David, Daniel, etc. – the main Bible characters. I prided myself on my Bible page-turning speed and mastery of Biblical trivia (I didn’t learn the definition of trivia until later). But, I missed the forest for the trees, and had no sense of the unifying story of God’s redemption of man underlying all of the stories I knew. Now, not everything we do in our children’s ministry stems from experiences from my childhood, but these experiences do provide concrete examples of dangers to avoid.

In our not-so-brief jaunt, we started with God’s creation and how He saw that it was very good. And that since the day that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, humankind has spiraled further and further away from God and God’s perfect creation has suffered, and yet God promised a victor over the serpent. We came to Abraham and saw God’s promise to bless all nations through him and how God counts faith as righteousness, and through the son that God promised, God raised the nation of Israel. We read God’s covenant with the people of Israel, and that He would treasure them above all other nations if they obeyed His covenant. And we spent time reading through that covenant, seeing how God has chosen to set apart His people to himself, but then seeing that after the initial conquest of the Promised Land, the people quickly turned from the Law to their own ways, and the resultant suffering and oppression. We learned how after His people rejected Him as their king, God selected David as His king and promised to establish David’s kingdom forever, but that immediately the kings following David turned away from God to other gods and to their own might, resulting in a kingdom split and eventual destruction and exile from the Promised Land. Even still, God promised and executed a return for the exiles and never revoked the covenants He made. In fact, God continued to offer hope to the remnant of His people.

Taking the brief overview, most of us can observe the cycles of sin and corruption along with God’s grace and orchestration of the events of history. But lesson by lesson, we had to try to both learn from the lesson itself and also tie it back to this larger picture. If the children were tracking with the lessons and had engaged themselves in the story, they would have experienced brief moments of hope followed by crushing disappointment. And, if we ended our lessons with the end of the Old Testament, the children would find themselves in the same state of despair as the first-century BC Jews.

But, we have the New Testament, and we know what God did. God sent Jesus, His son, to take the sins of the world, to bless all nations, to sit on David’s throne forever, and to crush sin and death once and for all!

The Old Testament gives us greater depth and appreciation for all that Jesus Christ accomplished with His death and life. If we want to teach the kids the Gospel well, the Old Testament introduces and prepares us for the good news that comes as a result of the true main character of the Bible, the redeemer, the King, the God-man, Christ Jesus, the Lord.

So, we’re looking forward to our curriculum’s foray into the New Testament and hope that the lessons and unifying themes from the Old Testament can help our children to understand God’s redemptive plan and Jesus’s mission on Earth in a fuller way.