By Aaron Wilson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jesus may have said, “Let the little children come to me,” but in these strange times, churches are telling kids and their parents to stay at home.
Such is the paradox children’s ministries are facing as they seek to introduce kids to Jesus while also practicing social distancing to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
To help address this challenge, churches around the world are making use of Lifeway Kids at Home, a free discipleship resource that allows families to watch Bible story videos and download activity pages and conversation starters.
One of these churches is Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas—a church that typically sees about 1,000 children and leaders in their children’s ministry each Sunday.
“We began using the Kids at Home curriculum on March 14,” said Rhonda Glasgow, a member of the church and mother of two children ages 9 and 11. “We watch the material right after the entire family watches our church’s online Sunday sermon. This gives our kids a sense of normalcy.”
Stephanie Chase, kids minister at Champion Forest Baptist, said she longs for her church to be able to gather together again physically, but is excited for how God is using this season of social distancing to spiritually strengthen families.
“Our ministry’s goal is to equip parents to be the primary disciplers of their children,” Chase said. “This ‘disruption’ has actually helped our church equip parents to disciple their children now more than ever. Through this curriculum, parents have access to Bible content, video, games and activities—everything they need to do children’s ministry at home.”
Since Lifeway Kids at Home released in mid-March, it has been viewed in all 50 U.S. states. It’s also helped take the gospel to the nations as individuals in 63 countries have already accessed the material.
“We launched Lifeway Kids at Home as a way of serving churches here in America that we knew needed a short-term solution for helping families facilitate kids worship time at home,” said Chuck Peters, Lifeway Kids director of operations. “At that time, I hadn’t considered that it might reach a global audience.
“The truth is, families all over the world have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. It’s thrilling to see how God is using Lifeway Kids at Home in places like Abu Dhabi, Australia, India and Malaysia just as He is in California, Colorado, Texas, New Jersey and Ohio.”
LJ James, a small group leader at Redeemer Church in Hendersonville, Tenn., says the curriculum has helped him and his wife facilitate discussions with their 7- and 8-year-old boys about how worship extends beyond just Sunday mornings.
“As we studied the material about the crowds welcoming Jesus with praise, we were able to talk with our kids about how their actions can praise Jesus too—whether it’s through singing, sports, schooling or play,” James said.
Users can access the Kids at Home experience through Lifeway’s Digital Pass platform by following these steps:
- Step 1: Go to lifeway.com.
- Step 2: Login or create an account (free).
- Step 3: Click the Lifeway Kids (or Preschool) at Home icon on the main page of Digital Pass.
- Step 4: In the Lifeway Kids at Home interface, download activity pages and conversation guides (button at top right).
New sessions are updated weekly at midnight on Thursday nights so families can have fresh content every weekend.
In addition to Kids at Home, Lifeway is also assisting children’s ministries by providing free access to current Bible study content from Bible Studies for Life, Explore the Bible and The Gospel Project.
And from April 5-13, Lifeway will provide free content for a 2020 Family Easter Event to lead families through the story of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection as it happened throughout the week. More information about these resources can be found on LifeWay.com/coronavirus.
Ministry leaders such as Chase see such resources as a way for families to fulfill the mandate God gave His people in Deuteronomy 6:4-8 to repeat God’s words to their children, specifically when they are sitting at home.
“There are no baseball or dance practices right now. School is taking place at home,” said Chase. “Now, more than ever, we need to redeem the time and make the most of the opportunity to disciple our children.”
Aaron Wilson is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.