The family of five first entered the church a year ago when the 1st and 4th grade sons, Ethan and Quentin, played in the Upward basketball league. The family came for worship about once every six weeks. In spite of regular contacts from the corresponding classes, the family stuck to their worship-only pattern.
Last June during VBS the whole family came for the snack supper each evening, and the two older boys participated in VBS. Still a worship-only attendance pattern.
Fast forward to last November and time for Upward registration again. During the three months of practices and games, the family’s Sunday morning attendance became much more regular…in the worship service. Ethan and Quentin enjoyed the Children’s worship, but the parents kept 3-year-old Aaron with them in worship.
Then two weeks ago, something happened. The children in grades 1-4 had a pizza party after morning worship. In preparation, the 1st-2nd grade teachers sent invitations to all Sunday School members plus guests who had been there in the last six months. During the party, the teacher invited Ethan to Sunday School. Ethan thought he had been going to Sunday School, but the teacher explained that they had a class just for his age-group that met before Children’s worship.
Here’s the good part. The next Sunday all five family members were in Sunday School! The 3-year-old was surprised when his parents told him there was a class for them, too. Sunday School wasn’t just for children.
The preschool teachers helped Aaron get to know the other children and participate in the many learning activities. After Sunday School the parents hurried to check on Aaron, fully expecting him to be ready to go with them to “listen to the music” in worship. Instead, Aaron whispered to his dad, “I want to stay here [for the extended session].”
I’m thankful for… children’s teachers who didn’t give up… for preschool teachers who were well prepared and made a little boy feel welcome and safe… for young adult leaders who have continued to build relationships and make contacts for 18 months. Last week the family was back again for Bible study. I’ll be watching for them this Sunday.
A whole family has begun the process of transformation, all because two teachers invited a 2nd grade boy to a Sunday School pizza party. Don’t forget the children!
Marie Clark has served as team leader for the Bible Teaching & Discipling Team of the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists since 1996.