Greetings from the Children's Discipleship World, 

I just want to remind everyone why we do what we do.  Did you know 63% of Christians made their decision for Christ between the ages of 4-14?  Most kids form their lifelong view of God by age 5.  This is research from the Barna Group.  

One of the largest mission fields is our very own children.  

Children’s Discipleship is NOT childcare. It’s not about entertaining the kids so that adults can go to service and learn about God.  Children’s Discipleship is telling kids about God, the Gospel and helping them in their faith journey.  We are discipling the kids like adults are being discipled upstairs in the Sanctuary. There is one Holy Spirit for all believers no matter what age and no junior Holy Spirit!

Another sobering fact is that while families are returning to the church, volunteers are not.  In a Ministry Boost webinar, they surveyed churches and found that many churches only had 65% of volunteers they needed to run their programs.  

Where I am going with this statistic?  I am happy to report that from September on we have had new families every Sunday.  Some weeks we had new families at each service.  We are a growing church.  I needed to increase the number of my classrooms in order to safely accommodate the number of kids and not overwhelm our teachers.  By doing this, my need for volunteers has gone up.  

We have also had to move our worship space into the Fellowship Hall!  We no longer fit in the back room.  Praise God for that!  While sharing the space does come with challenges, I would rather have those minor inconveniences than have less children around.  Our mission isn’t comfort; it’s growing the kingdom!

As far as Worship, we are happy to announce that this year we are able to provide Children’s Worship at both services. Heather Zimmer has taken this time to teach the kids about what worship is and why is it important.

In that theme of challenges, we challenged our families this year.  In September, we asked all parents to fill out a registration form for their children.  Questions included: How would you describe where your child is at spiritually, what areas would you like to see your child grow in and what area would you need help in nurturing your child’s faith? The reason we did this is we want parents to have goals for their children’s faith.  We have expectations for our kids in school, in sports, etc.  Faith tends to get left off the list.  Many of these other goals are for a season in their life while faith is eternal. 

The registration form results showed us that we have several kids interested in Salvation and Baptism.  This is what makes all of it worthwhile. It’s not the events, not the numbers but kids receiving Jesus as their Savior! That’s the point!

We are challenging grandparents.  We don’t want our grandparents to just be Grandparents who happen to be Christians. We want to challenge them to be Intentional Christian Grandparents. In the Legacy Summit that BCC hosted, Anne Graham Lotz stated, “Live out your testimony. Worship continually. Walk with God and fulfill His work for you!” No matter what age you are if you are still here, you have work to do.

We are challenging the congregation.  Deuteronomy 6 was written to the entire nation of Israel, not just the parents.   The charge was to teach the children what God has done. Talk about it when you rise, when you are in your home, walking around during the day and when you lay down at night. How will YOU share what God has done?

Sunday Needs
1)    Grades 3-5 Teacher at the 9 o’clock service – 2 weeks/per month
2)    Nursery volunteers at 11 o’clock – 2 weeks/per month
3)    2 Hallway Monitors at 9 o’clock service -2 weeks/per month

Throughout the Year
4)    Event volunteers – Starting with Parents Night Out – February 4, 2023 from 4-7:30, VBS, Night in Bethlehem

I want to give a special shout out to the Youth in our congregation!  They have responded to our call this year!  It is so wonderful to get to work with youth members who not that long ago were apart of Children’s Discipleship!  It is a privilege to get watch them grow into the leaders that they are meant to be.  We would not have been able to do some of our events without them!

A special thank you to Michele Nekos and Heather Zimmer.  Michele who works with me during week to lesson prep for Sunday School, makes our classrooms look amazing and deals with my shenanigans.  Heather is an amazing worship leader for our kids and youth.  She created a beautiful Worship space for the kids in the Fellowship Hall!  She is always a support and a wise sounding board and has been on this journey with me for many years!

As we look towards 2023, we want to reach as many kids as we can in Westchester County and beyond!  We want kids on fire for Jesus.  We want kids growing in their faith, asking questions, praying, worshipping, inviting their friends and engaging with all BCC has to offer!

Highlights for 2022:

●    Parent Night’s Out was held on February 5, 2022.  We had 16 kids attend.  The kids enjoyed Valentine’s crafts, games, pizza, cookie decorating and a movie.  Parents were able to have an early Valentine dinner. We had 10 helpers and earned $120.00 in donations for Youth Group’s Life Conference trip that was held in July.

●    VBS was a two-part event this year.  Since attendance has been dwindling during our traditional week in August, we stretched and had VBS on the last days of school - June 22 – 24 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.  We had 49 kids attend! To compare, last year we had 30 kids attend our week long camp last year in August.  For this year’s camp, half of the kids were not from BCC. Thank you to our BCC families who promoted VBS and invited their friends and neighbors!

●    Heather Zimmer led the youth Worship team during VBS. Heather Zimmer and I are just amazed at the hearts of our former students to worship God and we love seeing them be the leaders God meant them to be.  We feel very blessed that they want to share their time with us! 

●    August was spent reconfiguring our Sunday School program.  Due to growing numbers and increased needs, we needed to break up our elementary classes in a different way.  We moved our Preschool Room down the hall since it was closer to the bathrooms and a larger space for our little ones.  Heather Zimmer has created an inviting Worship Space in the Fellowship Hall.  She has added a prayer wall to invite kids into a more intentional prayer time. We did some teacher training to get ready for the new year.   I worked on creating a Registration Form and Parent Handbook for the new year.

●    In September we launched our new year on September 11, 2022.  We honored our kids that were moving onto Youth Group and our incoming kindergartners.

●    VBS Mini-camp was held on September 26th-27th.  School was out to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and kids were at BCC the whole day learning about Jesus. We had 35 kids attend this event. The event that was from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.  Our goal was to help working parents by providing a safe place for their kids during these days.  Our volunteers were fantastic and it was nice spending some quality time with these kids. Some of the kids have returned to attend Sunday School.  

●    Fall Fest was held on Saturday, October 15, 2022 from 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. We had over 50 families attend.  With Danny Cheong’s partnership, we were able to include more outreach and fun in the event.

●    Grandparent Summit – Thursday, October 20 and Friday, October 21, 2021.  We had 13 people register for this event.  8 Grandparents attended in person.  3 were from different churches and were interested in bringing this back to their own churches.
●    The schedule was packed with amazing speakers such as Anne Graham-Lotz, John Stonestreet, Tim and Darcy Kimmel, Jim Burns, Crawford Loritts. There were 6,500 attendees between the main site in Jacksonville, FL and 100 host sites.  The attendees represented 1,000 churches across the nation.

●    Walk to Bethlehem - Saturday, December 3, 2022 – This year Danny Cheong and I partnered on this project.  Danny had more to the Celebration part by adding Food Trucks, Fire pits and Smores. It touched my heart to turn around to see almost 60 volunteers of all ages ready to greet members from BCC and the surrounding areas!  We had  many tours and almost 200 visitors that day. The best thing was that everyone heard that Jesus stepped out of Heaven to save them.  We got to share the good news of Salvation with every single visitor!

I want to thank our entire congregation for inviting their friends and neighbors to our events and also for being patient in a year that was full of changes.