New People, New Plan, New Potential
As we enter an exciting year for children, youth and families at McFarlin, we want to celebrate the ways that our young people have been flourishing and what’s in store for 2023.
Children & Family Ministries has been blessed with the hiring of Katie Lanier as Director and Zach James as Associate Director, who will be leading children and families in a new curriculum called Orange. Joining thousands of other churches who are using this curriculum, Orange combines church engagement with home engagement and McFarlin ministry leaders with parents.
This connection gives families the tools and resources to engage in a richer faith experience for their children. Austin Leeviraphan, Director of Student Ministries, will also be utilizing Orange to engage students in a deeper walk with God and connect parents with at-home resources.
Imagine your child experiencing 8–10 years of consistent faith mentorship and development with lessons made specifically for them? Syncing up these ministries will foster that experience for our young people and build a strong foundation as they grow in their faith into adulthood, mobilizing the next generation to love Jesus and serve others.
Student Ministries also received a generous donation last year to support McFarlin’s students. After discussing the possibilities, it was decided that the 3rd floor youth rooms would receive some much-needed improvements. Old carpet was ripped up and replaced with modern, polished concrete flooring, and new TVs were installed in the small group spaces to assist in discipleship curriculum. Students helped carry old couches away as new furniture was brought in. The investment to support our youth has already changed the way students show up at church…the energy is higher and the smiles are wider as they take ownership of their new and improved space.
Whether it’s a group of 3rd grade girls huddled around a Bible, scanning pages for the chapter and verse for this week’s lesson, or a confirmation small group discussing how prayer affects their relationship with God, scripture is the foundation that we use at McFarlin to provide spiritual formation for our young people.
When children participate in our ministries for children and youth, they have the opportunity to engage on Sunday mornings with peers and adults who value them each of them as beloved children of God. Not only do they read stories about Jesus, but they also learn about ordinary people who did extraordinary things through faith in God.
Deepening their faith becomes an intentional journey for 8th graders who participate in Confirmation class, a time for students to explore the Christian faith and Methodist history and tradition. This allows time for them to begin making decisions about their faith. We challenge our students to recognize that they are created in God’s image, understand the power of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives and realize they are on this earth for a purpose.
Believing that young people can and should be leaders within the church, our ministry staff and volunteers continue to build an environment for them to flourish in their unique gifts and talents. Local and regional mission trips, youth-led Sunday worship and the Student Leadership Team are just a few of the ways these young followers of Jesus are learning to be servant leaders within the church and in their community.
Raising children to understand and live out the deep love and grace of Jesus requires each of us to make our own personal commitment to invest in our kids. But when we see children the way Jesus sees them, it’s easy to understand the commitment God asks of us. As Jesus said in Matt. 19:14 “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”