For any church, Christian education in general, and children’s education in particular are extremely important. For the Red Brick Church in Stillman Valley, Illinois, that responsibility has been growing each year with more and more children attending from Stillman Valley, Byron, Cherry Valley, Oregon, Davis Junction, Rockford, and other surrounding communities.
It is a blessing to have an abundance of youth at the church, but that blessing comes with challenges and greater responsibilities for the children’s education programs.
Youth and Children’s education programs include the following:
- Sunday School
- Children’s Church
- Vacation Bible School
- Junior High Ministries
- Senior High Ministries
Janice Amundson has been involved in the Red Brick Church’s children’s ministry for 25 years as a Sunday School teacher. Plus, she has served as the Children’s Education Chairman for the past 18 years. She has seen this particular ministry increase during her time in these positions and has had to work around the challenges of a flourishing church education program.
“Each and every ministry has increased dramatically,” said Amundson. “We have added a new adult Sunday School class, and to accommodate their children, we have added Children’s Church. Both have been a great success. We also have Children’s Church this summer.”
Children don’t attend church on their own. Only with the help of parents, grandparents, guardians, etc., do they come. That means that not only are there more youth to account for, but the number of adults is growing as well.
A growing congregation and youth ministry is certainly not a bad thing. The opportunity to teach the Gospel to an increasing number of children each Sunday is an incredible blessing. Growth is welcomed, encouraged, and vigorously sought after. But that gift comes with certain challenges.
“Our biggest challenge is space to accommodate the growing numbers,” says Amundson. “We are pretty well maxed out for AWANA, Sunday School, Nursery and VBS. With the increases, comes the need for more volunteers.”
In fact, this year a record number of kids signed up for Vacation Bible School. With this surge in youth attendance, more volunteers were requested than ever before.
The need for more space and more workers is a constant struggle for small-town churches with increasing numbers. Although a growing church family brings on these challenges, it also provides the solutions. With a larger number of attendees, comes a greater number of available volunteers. This is one of the many gifts that a growing congregation provides.
Janice says that she and this church have been blessed with people that are very dedicated in serving God through youth ministries. She is grateful for everyone she works with to keep these programs well-oiled and running as smoothly as they can muster.
“Our church has been so blessed through the years,” exclaims Amundson. “God has supplied our needs with abundance. I pray we use all of our resources to his glory.”
To be successful, this congregation must know that increased numbers bring challenges. But they are an incredible blessing, especially in the form of children’s education. We are prepping the church leaders of tomorrow, and should not take that task lightly. With more kids, there are more opportunities to spread the Gospel and prepare these children to be future men and women of faith in their homes and in their future churches.