This year, we had an incredible time at Revive Kids, which took place alongside the Revive Gathering. Revive Kids included time for worship with all ages, a workshop that whole families could attend together, and sessions specifically for 3-12 year olds, where we explored the theme of Revive: See – Local and Global.
We learned a lot about children and family ministry at Revive this year! Many of the things we learnt can equally be taken back to our local contexts to impact the way we understand kids’ ministry in our churches. Here’s what we discovered:
The Value of Shared Experiences
Perhaps our greatest joy throughout Revive was watching families engage in worship together on Saturday morning. We saw kids’ faces light up as their families arrived to join in the all age workshop with them. It was a reminder that faith formation starts in the family, and there is so much joy and wisdom to be gained from mums, dads, grandparents and kids learning alongside each other. How can we, in our local faith communities, encourage and empower parents to take the lead in discipling their own children in their home?
The Value of Gathering
Our gathered times as faith communities are a highlight for children! When we bring together people of all ages, genders and cultures, children gain a vision and perspective of God’s big family, and their place in it. So often our tendency in church is to split up into segregated groups, either by age or some other demographic, and yet gathering together is biblical and critical for lifelong faith. We were challenged to ask the question: How do we make space in our regular church gatherings to gather everyone together? Are there more opportunities we could take to worship, learn, serve or play together?
The Value of Peers
Children are wonderful at making friends and developing relationships! At Revive Kids, we saw kids from an array of different size and style churches come together and form great friendships. Many were excited to see friends who they met at last year’s gathering. As children grow older, and peers begin to have more influence, it is important to see kids connecting with other like-minded children who share similar core beliefs and values. We were once again reminded of the importance of building opportunities for kids to connect with positive peer groups in our local churches.
The Value of Time
At Revive Kids, children and leaders came for one or both days, and we spent the whole day together. This extended time meant there was space for relationships to form, peer to peer, and leader to child. Often in our regular Sunday services, we are limited by a forty-minute time constraint. Revive Kids taught us that relationships develop through the investment of time. Camps, retreats, mid-week activities or extended conversations with kids after the service all become great opportunities to build deeper relationships which are an important part of faith formation.
The Value of Having More Than Enough
For the majority of children, Revive is a new environment with leaders they do not know, and so we had made sure we had a high leader to child ratio. The benefits of having many caring adults involved, however, extended well beyond a safety concern. Young children felt emotionally comfortable to be part of the program, away from their parents. Older children were able to talk one on one with leaders to unpack what they were learning and experiencing. So often in our churches, we are tempted to ask, “What are the minimum requirements for kids’ program helpers?” However, when we change our perspective, our question becomes, “How can we most effectively develop faith in children, by providing more than enough caring mentors?”
The Value of Seeing
As we explored the topic of “Seeing: Local & Global” we were reminded that children have unique missional opportunities in their schools, sports teams and neighbourhoods, as well as the courage to take those opportunities! There is so much we can learn from our kids about being missional in our own contexts.
Revive Kids was a learning space, not only for the children who attended, but also for the adults who had the opportunity to learn and encounter God alongside them!