Teachers: God’s love in the community
Posted on June 27, 2019 by Jon Trotter
Kids Club volunteer Elizabeth Ochoa interacts with Emily at Park View Mennonite Church. Photos courtesy of Seth Crissman
“Let’s go!” Zippers zipped and flashlights in hand, a few adults make their way out of the church building’s doors into the cold night with 15 kids walking between them. The kids are laughing and singing songs as the “walking bus” winds its way through the neighborhood on the way home from Kids Club. It is 7:25 p.m., and these adults are teachers. After almost 12 hours with children, they are still going strong.
There are teachers at almost every Kids Club who choose to weekly care for students in both academic and congregational settings. We wanted to take a few minutes to hear from them, so we asked some of them a few questions:
Why do Kids Club after teaching all day?
- The more I throw myself into school, the more deeply I yearn to be throwing myself into the work of God’s Kingdom.
- Kids Club gives me the opportunity to spend time with kids in their home community and meet their parents and grandparents.
- The joy I see from the children in our community when they discover a place where they belong and are loved unconditionally becomes the motivating factor that brings me back each week.
- I want to help create an opportunity for the kids living near our church to have a safe and fun place to come to and learn about God.
What is your favorite part of Kids Club?
- The fact that they are NOT my students is a huge draw. I love being able to interact with them on a different level, playing, singing and learning with them. I love that they know me by name and are excited to see me. I love that I can connect with students at school and then also see them at Kids Club. I love being asked almost daily how many more days until Kids Club!
- I love those “a-ha moments” during a song, story line, or circle time where you can see on a kid’s face that they get it…they are loved! In those moments I feel the Spirit of God seeming to say…”these are my children, love them well as I do!”
- As a teacher, it is easy to get caught up in the content and the assignments and the tests. At Kids Club, I get to focus on my favorite part of teaching which is building relationships.
- The walking bus!
What are your hopes for your congregation and the kids who come to Kids Club?
- My hope for the church is that they would support the ministry of Kids Club not only with their prayers and financial support, but also with their time. These kids have such a deep need and yearning to be loved by many different types of people. Everyone can serve!
- My hope for these kids is that they will feel loved and also connected to God through Kids Club and come to realize that my love for them and my time spent with them at Kids Club is because I want them to have their own relationship with God and with a church family.
- I hope that the church will wake up to the deep importance of authentic children’s ministries within the community….where we see each other as one family and not so different.
- That they see the value in community involvement and service to others.
Snack time is a wonderful opportunity for Kids Club volunteers to interact with the kids and show God’s love. Photo courtesy of Seth Crissman
All Kids Club volunteers love the children who come, and there is something special about teachers who choose to be at Kids Club each week. They are experts at giving and receiving the love of God in our local communities who are competently leading both at school and at Kids Club. We hope that churches can continue to recognize how uniquely equipped teachers are to lead the church as it re-imagines how to give and receive love in the neighborhood.
Seth and Theresa Crissman are VMMissions workers serving as directors of Kids Clubs. They are preparing to start their third term in June (2019-2021).