At its core, Children and Family Ministry is about Christian formation. The goal of Christian formation is not to create churchgoers but to raise up disciples of Jesus Christ. But this type of formation is not accomplished in a vacuum nor does it only take place on Sunday mornings. Disciples are formed, first and foremost, in the everyday lives of families where Baptismal promises can be lived out in a multitude of ways.
According to Martin Luther, parents are called to be apostles, bishops, and priests to their children, “for it is they who make them acquainted with the gospel. In short, there is no greater or nobler authority on earth than that of parents over their children, for this authority is both spiritual and temporal.”1 According to Luther, as priests and bishops to their children, parents have a twofold task: to nurture the faith of their children and to help them develop their gifts to serve others.
Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church is committed to helping parents be the apostles, bishops, and priests to their children though its ministry of Christian formation and pastoral care to all the families within the church community. This is a ministry that reaches out to all members of the body and finds its foundation in in the church’s corporate life. In a sense, this ministry is about planting seeds and tending vines that grow and flourish within the lives of each and every family.
To this end Children and Family Ministry provides classes for faith development and community building for children and teens though the Sunday School program (Sunday mornings at 10am) and Bread for the Journey (Wednesday evenings). These programs…
- Introduce children to the great Biblical dramas, connecting God’s Story with their own.
- Help children learn to pray, showing them the reality of an inner realm where God speaks to them and through them.
- Nurture children’s spiritual growth through time for discovery, music, drama, and art all in ways that are relevant to them at their particular stage of development.
- Help children learn to love and serve as Jesus did and to live in community with others who are not “just like them.”
- Give children the opportunity to share their own gifts and acts of love within the larger church community and in the world at large.
- Help children learn to obey God, and through this they learn self-control and respect for themselves and others.
- Introduce them to adult Christians beyond their nuclear family who also model the love of Christ and give them as safe place to explore and grow.
Vacation Bible School is offered to children who are 4 years old through entering 6th grade. For these five days each summer, children are encouraged to learn more about Jesus, how he loved and served and then to act on what they’ve learned. And they do this through Bible study, music, drama, art, outreach projects and field trips. This activity…
- Combines faithful formation with fun and service.
- Welcomes the children from this congregation along with children from the neighborhood and others cities to grow together in an atmosphere of love and acceptance.
In addition to programs for children and youth Children and Family Ministry also sponsors events for the whole family of faith. These programs include…
- St. Francis Day, All Saints’ Day, the Advent and Lent Events that call the entire Phinney family to learn and grow together though learning activities, projects, and opportunities for service.
- Classes for the parents of newborns through teens that are offered to help families build Christian households and specialty programs like the Caregivers’ Circle are also offered to members of all ages.
In conjunction with the Pastor, Children and Family Ministry also offers Holy Communion Preparation which, through a series of experiential classes, supplemented by take home materials, helps welcome children to the table of the Lord. This program helps all who attend to learn more about the liturgy while finding a place for themselves within it allows even young children to more fully join the larger congregation in the wonder, love, and praise that is worship.
But Wait – There’s More!
Birthdays and other special events are marked and celebrated. Talents are supported through attendance children’s’ school and extracurricular events.
Mentors and prayer partners are matched so that folks from different generations can get to know, prayer for, and lead one another through the journey that is our life in Christ.
Confirmation classes help young teens to articulate the faith in which they are growing and maturing.
The Phinney Phlames is a youth group for 4th and 5th grade students and provides them with a monthly event for fun, community building, and service.