By Bree Young
On September 22 we celebrated Jump Sunday. This is the day we celebrate all our SBC Kids and SBC Youth who are jumping into the next phase of our ministry. Why do we have a Sunday like this and why do we offer such different things for the different groups of kids here at SBC? Before we explain our goals and strategy, we need to define what we mean when we say the word phase.
In the first 18 years of every human there is so much dramatic change that it sometimes seems that each year you’re dealing with an entirely different person. And in some very real ways, you are. A phase is just breaking down this time frame into1 year increments and learning to interact with growing children very intentionally in order to best influence their future. Every phase is full of potential and we don’t want to miss the opportunities present in each one.
In every phase there are four conversations that we need to have in age-appropriate ways. We need to talk about health, we need to talk about sexuality, we need to talk about technology, and we need to talk about faith.
Our goal is for the emerging generation to grow up holding onto a faith that is deeply rooted in scripture. We want to see kids who place their trust in God’s love for them every day and to choose to follow Him. We want to show them that they can have a relationship with the one who created them, who knows them and that the best way they can show God they love Him too is to love people.
We also want them to be connected to a church family where they can be known and loved. We feel that being here, together, as a church family is vitally important to an ongoing faith as an adult.
And this is why our strategy takes into account the time we have with them, the phase kids are in and what our end goal for them when they graduate is. We have created spaces designed to meet kids where they are at in every way: mentally, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and physically. It is in these environments we teach core Biblical truths that connect with them at their phase and as they grow, we continue to build onto them so their faith and understanding go deeper.
We start with these truths for SBC Kids Preschool:
God made me, God loves me, Jesus wants to be my friend forever
And then we build on that in SBC Kids Elementary and AREA 45:
I can trust God no matter what, I need to make wise choices, I should treat others the way I want to be treated
And then we go deeper in SBC Impact (Middle School Youth):
I will love God because He will never stop loving me, I will follow Jesus because He knows me better than I know myself, I will live out God’s story so others can know who Jesus is
And deeper still in SBC Ignite (High School Youth):
I’m created to pursue a relationship with my Creator, I trust what Jesus did to transform who I need to become, I exist to demonstrate God’s love to those around me
We want our kids to graduate feeling they belong here, in the Sunday morning service and that they are valuable members of our church family. And how are we using our Sunday mornings to achieve this goal?
We start when they enter SBC Kids Preschool and Elementary by keeping them in a Sunday morning service for 30 minutes. This gives our younger kids a chance to experience a Sunday service in a bite size chunk. Perfect for the phase they are in. We also offer Family Services 4 to 5 times a year. These services are a chance for SBC Kids to experience an entire Sunday morning service.
Next, kids enter Middle School when we offer a mix of opportunities on Sunday mornings. Sometimes they are in a Bible study designed for them, sometimes they are serving in various areas alongside adults, and sometimes they are in the service.
Then, the ideal scenario is that by the time they enter High School, they have discovered where they can serve (or at least some areas to try) and feel increasingly comfortable and at home in the service. SO now that we have mapped out our strategy for you it’s time to celebrate some milestone transitions in the life of our SBC Kids and SBC Youth.
On stage, music started playing and we invited the two year olds jumping into Preschool and Kindergartens jumping into SBC Kids elementary to come up. They jumped on the trampoline on the stage and were given an SBC Kids tattoo.
Then the Grade 4’s jumping to AREA 45 were invited to come up on stage and receive a So and So Show sticker.
Next we celebrated with our grade 6’s jumping to Middle School IMPACT. Tianna gave all the middle schoolers IMPACT sunglasses to wear. We had all the current middle schoolers stand in the aisle and make a tunnel with their arms for all the jumping kids to run through.
Lastly the grade 8’s transitioning to High School IGNITE were given a pair of sunglasses as a gift.
During the service we also had special ‘Jump’ session for parents. Parents of 2 year olds, Kindergarteners and Grade 4’s learned more about the phase their kid is currently in and how they can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their child’s future.