Houston’s First members Rhett and Morgan Dotson and their four children, Caleb, Aubrey, Reese and Peyton, are part of the Cypress Campus, a community of believers that, Rhett says, has made the single biggest impact on their lives. Resources provided for children and families at Houston’s First are shaping the people they are becoming, and more importantly, providing a lifeline to the Dotson children, guiding them to an eternal relationship with Christ.
At age four, Caleb, now 7, began asking questions about the lessons he was being taught in Life Bible Study on Sunday mornings. “He was retaining a good bit at that age,” said Rhett. “We would question him about the stories he heard and walk through them with him. It was a great starting point for conversation.”
Puppets on video are often incorporated in Kids’ Worship each week. ‘Go home cards’ are handed out at the end of each session with questions posed from a concept learned that week, which serves to involve parents and check each child’s comprehension of the day’s message. A bonus question intended to guide parents to curriculum on the web takes the child deeper in understanding and provides an opportunity for the child to earn a prize by bringing back the card the following week signed by parents.
At the Cypress Campus, first through fifth graders attend BLAST (Building Lives Around Scripture & Truth) on Wednesday nights. It is one of the many Milestones classes for individuals and families meeting on Wednesday evenings at Houston’s First campuses. At BLAST, children meet 13 weeks to learn about God and the Bible, play games, and memorize and apply Scripture to real life using music and specific themes to aid in memory retention and heart application.
“Classes like these have prompted eternal questions,” said Rhett. “And seeing kids being baptized has caused Caleb to question what it means to be a follower of Jesus.” Aubrey, the Dotsons’ five-year-old, loves the activities for kids at the Cypress Campus, like Mission Friends, which meets each Wednesday night during the school year. First Friends, Houston’s First Preschool Ministry, provides classes and activities for kids of all ages, which the younger two Dotson children, Reese and Peyton, attend.
Learning about Jesus is primary, but Christ has also called followers to be His hands and feet. Rhett and Morgan are beginning early to teach their children to make a difference in the lives of others. Rhett takes the opportunity to teach service by participating in Men: Serve, where men and their sons, six and older, serve widows in the church, performing honey-do’s that may not otherwise get done. “Our kids aren’t just learning about Jesus, they’re living it out,” said Rhett. Opportunities for service of all kinds are offered throughout the year, and not only on weeklong mission trips, but also right here at home.
Houston 1:8 offers stay-at-home trips that minister to local residents in apartment communities and even in parks around the city. One of the Cypress Campus’ most celebrated mission activities is Backyard Kids’ Club, which has become a yearly favorite in reaching neighborhood children, three years to fifth grade, throughout Cypress. “The past four years, I led worship, taught music and was able to kick off the ceremonies as emcee at Backyard Kids’ Club,” said Rhett. “It’s been a fun and effective way not only to minister to our own kids, but kids of all ages in our neighborhoods.”