These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.— Deuteronomy 6:6-7
The NextGen Ministry at Houston’s First serves preschoolers, children, and students through Life Bible Studies and a variety of other programs and activities. Despite all that they provide as a ministry to shepherd spiritual growth, they have always held that parents are the primary disciplers in a child’s life.
When Houston’s First became unable to meet in person beginning in mid-March, the reality of that point-of-view came to life even more. Parents were no longer able to bring their children to church to learn about the Bible or what it means to follow Jesus Christ. Instead, while quarantined at home, many parents quickly became their child’s only source of spiritual development.
Even though their Life Bible Study classrooms were not filled with kids on Sundays, our NextGen Ministry at every campus stepped up to equip parents for the task at hand — and they have been hard at work ever since!
“The Preschool Ministry at The Loop Campus has made videos and various helps to resource our families,” Preschool & Kindergarten Ministry Life Bible Study Associate Brianna Saunders explained. “Our ministry sends out weekly emails with links to an age-specific Bible study video for each age group (babies through kindergarteners) created by the Preschool staff.”
Those weekly emails also include a Bible study lesson plan that parents can follow, as well as printable activities and ideas for continuing the faith conversations during the week.
The ministry also helps parents prepare their little ones for “Big Church” as they tune in to worship services online each Sunday. “We include a link to the Worship Team’s playlists on Spotify and YouTube so preschoolers can listen to the songs we’ll sing on Sundays,” Saunders explains. “We also include Message Notes for Kindergarteners and activity sheets for Preschoolers that parents can print and give to their children to use during online family worship with Pastor Gregg.”
Sasha Breeden has two children, Elliott and Liliana, in the Preschool Ministry at The Loop and expressed how these lessons have been blessings during this time.
“The Bible studies sent our way help tremendously! They have been amazing!” Breeden shares. “The blessing through this storm has been the ability to have Bible study at home with our babies.”
The First Kids ministry at the Cypress Campus provides a link to the respective life Bible study lesson for each age group, as well as a parents’ guide to Kids’ Worship at home.
“At the Cypress Campus, we have sent out the Life Bible Study curriculum weekly to parents. We have formatted the curriculum so that parents have opportunities to walk through the lessons as a family each week. We have provided videos, worship songs, activities, crafts, and discussion questions for them to use as a guide,” Preschool and Children's Ministry Assistant Elizabeth Gill says. “We have also connected with parents simply by calling, emailing, and checking in on them. We have also asked that our leaders and volunteers do the same with the kids in their Life Bible Studies since connection is so vital during this time.”
The HUB Student Ministry at our campuses has worked to equip parents to have biblical conversations with their older kids, too.
“The efforts at The HUB Sienna specifically have been to give our parents updated communication on what we're teaching so that they have a jumping-off point to chat with their kids about Scripture,” Sienna Campus Minister to Students Mark Cox shares. “The HUB Sienna has been doing a teaching series in Philippians, and we're just doing one section per week (it will finish at ten weeks). The goal is for students to watch it, but we also post on Facebook so that parents are able to start having conversations with their kids at the dinner table.”
This time has sparked parents to take more of a proactive role in the discipleship of their children and not solely rely on The HUB at the Downtown Campus.
“The things that have come from this is time with mothers and daughters and fathers and sons going through different types of studies,” Downtown Campus Minister of Campus Development Leon Brooks adds. “In short, it has caused parents to take more of a leadership role in the discipleship of their kids."
Social media and emails are the primary tools our NextGen Ministry uses to communicate with parents. Visit the CONNECT page to find links to social media accounts at your campus, and to make sure the church has your email address on hand!