Wow! Thanks to everyone in our church family who gave snack donations for our Faith at Home serving project, "Packed with Love"! Your abundant generosity is appreciated!
The grade 2's and 5's, along with their parents, learned about Spiritual Gifts and serving. Tracey Bennett was a special presenter for this Faith at Home Event. We appreciate how she blessed our families by ministering to us.
The grade 5's spent time exploring what their own spiritual gifts may be while the Grade 2's focused on serving and were able to 'pack with love' 48 snack packs for the Food Bank in Summerland, to be given to children in the community. Several extra needed items were also able to be donated.
Thank you for partnering with Faith at Home and the children to Follow Jesus Together and serve God in this way.
It's 6 pm on a Sparks evening and we the leaders are ticking the final set up "to dos" off our list.
Technology, check. Stations, check. More glue, check. Technology again, check. Name tags, check.
Thirty seconds later we hear the thundering of (what sounds like) 1000s of elephants coming down the stairs! How can it be 6:30 already?! Didn't we just look at the clock half a minute ago?
But no, it's 6:30 and the excited girls have arrived en masse, each one eagerly finding their station of the night and making their way to its location. The excitement is contagious and we move from panic to anticipation of a great evening with the girls.
Each Sparks year has a theme, from friendship to fruits of the spirit. This year we are excited to be taking the girls through a big picture overview of the Bible, starting from creation in October and ending with Jesus' Return at Eastertime. We have been using the Jesus Storybook Bible curriculum by Sally Loyd Jones for the stories, pictures, videos, and activities and were super excited to team up with their prayer pals and gift each girl with her very own copy of the JSB Bible at Christmas time. Watching the girls open their gifts and hearing squeals and things like, "Oh I WANTED my own copy," was priceless.
Setting up for a Sparks night takes 2 people roughly 5 hours, the event lasts 1.5 hours, and clean up takes another 1.5 hours so it is no small task. But the delight on 65 little faces is worth it. Each evening the girls divide by grade and over the course of a sparks year, rotate twice through 5 stations. In the kitchen they bake something that ties into the theme so this spring they are baking croissants that end up hollow like the empty tomb. In the science station they explore God's creation through different experiments. In another room they get to create take home crafts that remind them of what we're learning about. In the gym they continue learning through play. And in the youth room they revisit the stories through various fun activities like learning books of the Bible songs and playing trivia style games.
The evening then moves on to small group time where they have a chance to sit with their leaders and go deeper and build relationships with each other. After this portion we all gather together in the fireside room for songs, a large group story/teaching time, and fun together. Most years the girls also choose a cause to support and this year, they are bringing bottles to donate to Bottle for Bibles which has been a huge blessing and supplies bibles and devotionals for Sparks year after year.
At 8 pm we ship the girls back upstairs to their parents and wave goodbye to their hyper smiling little faces. Sparks is over...we have 2 weeks to recuperate. And we wouldn't change a thing.
We thought you might enjoy a few more photos from the Sparks Christmas party:
And a sampling of some of the crafts we made:
In December we held our 'Worship' Faith at Home Event for children in Kindergarten and their parents. We learned that we can worship God anytime and anywhere. We discovered that there are many ways we can worship God and each family had the opportunity to experience this by using their hands (making playdough creations of things that make God smile), studying various Scripture passages to see what they had to say about worship, and use their creativity to paint something that came to mind when they thought about God and how much He loves us.
We loved seeing the paintings our Kindergarten kids came up and we thought you would too...
Brinley drew a picture of her and Jesus hugging.
Jada painted a picture of her worshipping and shouting praises to God.
Eric painted a volcano erupting and praising God. Even if no person praises God, His creation will praise Him!
Taylor painted a sheep. We are His sheep and He is the Shepherd.
Indianna worships God through singing!
God created all the animals. Lauren painted a cat.
If you had been with us what would you have painted?
During our Sunday morning services on January 10, we spent some time thanking Mr. Matt and celebrating how God has used him over the last number of years as SBC's Children and Families pastor. Matt not only touched the lives of our kids and pointed them to Jesus, he challenged and encouraged our parents to be the spiritual champions of their children and modelled every-day faith as a husband and father himself. Matt's servant heart was evident in all he did, as was his undeniable love for kids.
It's hard to encapsulate all the ways Matt has blessed our church family over the years but it's obvious his impact reached far beyond the children. The notes that were written to Matt on January 10th show that all ages loved Mr. Matt and his leadership here at SBC. From baby dedications, to his memorable Sunday morning experiments, to crazy skits and insightful sermons, Matt impacted us all here at SBC.
Although we could not share all the notes with you, many of which were personal, we wanted to share a few that span the different age groups here at SBC.
From one of our SBC Kids:
I love all the creative games and crafts. I miss you every day. I will remember you every day.
From one of our Youth who went through SBC Kids with Mr. Matt:
Thank you for all you’ve done for the children’s ministry. You’ve really helped me grow closer to God. I’m really going to miss seeing what new experiments each Sunday will bring. I hope that God has lots of happiness and many new adventures planned out for you. I’ll never forget all the joy and love you brought to the ministries.
From one of our married couples with young children:
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Matt, as we think about you leaving there is something we want you to know. You are so loved. We think back on your time at SBC with complete joy and thankfulness for all you have done to serve us and our kids. We saw you pouring yourself out to the church and the Lord. We saw you pushing your comfort zone to do what you knew needed to be done. We saw how prepared you were, your enthusiasm, and your perseverance. We thank you and we love you. We pray that you would enter the next time of your life with peace and that it would be a time of rest. We pray that you would live in peace and rest knowing that you are free in Christ and so loved by our church family. Thank you for everything Matt. We wish you all the best for you and your family.
From two ‘empty nest’ couples:
I appreciate your character, integrity, sensitivity, thoughtfulness, enthusiasm, creativity, love for the Lord and for the little ones. I loved your science experiments/demos that imparted spiritual truths. I loved your sense of drama and repartee with Mikel at special events and family camp. I loved to see your kindness and gentleness when interacting with children. I appreciated the various opportunities where I got to know you a little bit better. Don’t ever forget that you are gifted for work in the Kindgom, however that looks in the future.
I have always enjoyed watching you working with the kids. Your love for them and God shone through. I looked forward to your time with them each Sunday morning. Thanks for loving our kids. God bless you as you continue to follow Him.
From our Seniors:
Matt, there has been many times that I wanted to go up and sit with the kids and listen to you and especially watch the different experiments you did. They were so cool!! May God bless you and your family richly. I know he has great plans for you.
Matt, we absolutely love to watch you interact with kids. Such an obvious gift of God and used wonderfully.
If you were unable to attend that morning, you may enjoy seeing the video message that Mikel sent for Matt:
And here are a few special pictures that were drawn of Matt (all of which can be seen in Through The Eyes Of A Child post) by some of our SBC Kids earlier in the year:
And here are a few random photos of Matt being Matt...
at Family Camp Talent Night
At Sparks Father Daughter Night
At baby dedications
At a 'My Bible' Faith at Home Event
At a Worship Faith at Home Event
At an SBC Family Skate (you can read his blog post about it, Fellowship of the Rink, here)
And of course, who can forget him as the dancing 'blue guy'!
Matt, it's hard to sum up the many, many ways you blessed our church family and touched hearts and lives. The best we can do is say... (and picture us all, adults and kids alike, shouting this together as a group in unison)...
WE LOVE YOU, MR.MATT!