by Pastor Ben Holden
At Berean we offer programming for kids and youth on weekends and on Wednesday nights. Have you ever wondered why we do that? No other ministry in the church follows this schedule with multiple times of gathering. When it comes to weekend and Wednesday night programming, you might be wondering, “Aren’t they the same?” Are kids being taught the same things, in the same format, for the same purpose twice a week?
The answer is “No”, they are not the same. In fact, we are strategically engaging kids and families two different times during the week in order to accomplish two different things. Our weekend programming with Berean Kids and Berean Youth holds a specific purpose which differs from our Wednesday night programming. Let’s take a quick look at the purpose behind both.
I come across a lot of families that walk through the doors of our church wanting to know where their kids and students are supposed to go. It can be easy to think that we offer kids and youth programs simply because they are in the building and they need a place to go. This would imply that the worship service is for adults only. It would also imply that our weekend programming is designed to be the “church service” for the younger generation. While this is a reasonable guess, our purpose is far different. In fact, we don’t view the worship service as being only for adults and highly encourage kids and youth to engage in this time with our FaithFamily. You can read a post I wrote about families worshiping together here.
Our weekend programming for both kids and youth is an environment for them to engage in biblical education.
With Berean Kids (birth-grade 5) we are teaching the grand narrative (whole story) of the bible and showing how every part of it points toward Jesus and the gospel. This survey takes three years to go through, allowing us to take time to show how all of it fits together and is God’s story of redemption. Kids will get to go through this three year cycle three different times, each time at a new and deeper learning level, during their time in Berean Kids. We think it is foundational for them to learn what is in the Bible, what it says, it’s purpose, and how it all fits together. We want to strategically use this time each weekend in our partnership with parents to help in this educational and exploration process.
Berean Youth is in process of rewriting their strategy. With the foundation that is taught in Berean Kids, our youth are beginning to focus on the essentials of the faith in order to help them grow into mature followers of Christ. This is a great next step that helps them to wrestle with God’s truth on a deeper level and put meat on the bones of what they have been learning thus far. As they are growing older and more mature, they are able to learn and think through deeper concepts that will deepen the roots of their faith.
I’m a big believer in biblical education. If you don’t know what the Bible teaches and you don’t know who God is, then it is impossible to develop a real, firmly-rooted authentic faith. Weekend programming is our strategic method to engage kids, youth, and families in this process.
Wednesday Night Programming
So are there any differences on Wednesday nights? I mean, it kind of sounds like you already have things covered through your efforts on weekends! The answer is yes! Whereas we are big believers in biblical education, for us there is more to the overall picture.
Team KID (starting this Fall!) is our program for kids ages 4 through grade 3 on Wednesday nights.
This time each week will help to answer a lot of the questions that kids have about God, Jesus, the Bible, and living a life of faith. As kids will be learning more about these topics in a systematic approach, we are able to focus on some things that we aren’t able to on the weekends. Scripture memory along with discussion on what each verse means and how to apply it to your life is a big piece. Relationships are also a key focus on Wednesday nights. Kids will get to know a group of friends and their adult small group leader. Relationship and community form strong bonds. This helps to enhance learning as well as provides opportunity for prayer and encouragement. We also have the ability to have a whole lot of fun on Wednesday nights. We can be as loud as we want while moving around and expressing our love for God through engaging and energetic worship.
Our Preteens follow a similar model as well. Wednesday nights are where we can really hone in on their stage of life and help bring biblical application to what they are experiencing in their life. With a fun, engaging, high energy time, kids are able to build relationships with each other and adult small group leaders as together they wrestle with topics they have never thought about before.
Berean Youth Wednesday nights are incredibly strategic.
Simply put, the purpose is to help connect youth to the the gospel as well as each other. Through a fun, engaging, and high energy time of worship, teaching, play, and small group discussion, youth learn how to relate the Scriptures to their life, especially as a teenager. This is a chance to tackle tough and relevant topics and look at them through the lens of the Bible. Relationship is so important at this age and our Wednesday night strategy is to help foster healthy relationships with other youth and adult small group leaders. Together these groups can navigate life and push each other toward developing a firmly-rooted authentic faith.
As you have probably noticed, our efforts on Wednesday place a high emphasis on relationship at every level. I’m a big believer that ministry happens at its highest level when in the confines of relationship. This is the case whether it is one-on-one or in small groups.
Can you see the difference?
We are trying to accomplish different, but complementary things through our programs on weekends and Wednesdays. Not only are we learning different things and in different ways, but the environments feel very different. We believe that these two things together help to provide a more holistic and complete approach to ministry to the younger generation. Does a child need to be engaged on both weekends and Wednesdays to be a disciple of Jesus? No! But we do think there is incredibly high value in fully engaging at both levels.