Dan and I arrived in our current church in Central New York on December 13, 2013. It was a tiny building with a small group of people with big hearts. They were a spiritually mature group who wanted to reach their community for Christ.
One of the things though that was noticeably missing was the lack of children in the church. There were a small handful of teens but not one little child in the group. I have always worked with kids in every church in which we had served. I love children and I love teaching them. It was a struggle for me as I felt a bit lost without that role to play in the church.
However, over the past 3 1/2 years, children have begun to arrive. Some of them come because their grandparents bring them and more recently, some have arrived with their own parents. Our little church is beginning to grow. Since the beginning of the year, I decided that no matter if there was only one child, I would make sure that children's church was provided during the sermon. And God has been good. That one child turned into two then three and the other week I had 9 children in children's church.
For some churches, that sounds like nothing, but for a small church of our size that is huge progress. Our attendance has gone from the low 30s on a Sunday morning to almost 60. Our tiny building is busting at the seams and it is awesome!
On April 15th, I have decided to host a community Easter Egg hunt & Craft Day and our congregation is excited to help. It's been neat to see them get on board with the outreach events as they've seen growth happen as a result. I've organized a couple of Fall Festivals and the attendance has been good.
I'm looking forward with anticipation to the 15th as it is a way to introduce our church to the community. It is a way to allow our neighbors to know that we love children and they are welcome here. It's a way to show them the love of Christ. Maybe it won't turn into church attendance, but when someone hits a crisis, they will know where they can turn.
And yes, I know that Easter eggs have nothing to do with the Easter story. The children that are there on Easter Sunday will here what it's all about. But I'm finding great joy in those eggs because it is by reaching out to our community that our church is beginning to grow. And that, my friends, is exciting!