ROACH – As Missouri Baptist churches have grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, many have decided to cancel children’s Sunday school classes and other programs. According to Teresa Huddleston, this presents an opportunity for churches across the state to refresh the way they think about children’s ministry.
For nearly three decades, Huddleston – the wife of Windermere President Tim Huddleston – has served in children’s ministry. And she sees parents as essential for the discipleship of children in Missouri’s churches, especially as regular ministry programs have been closed down amid a national pandemic.
“Parents should be the main spiritual leaders of their household,” Huddleston said. Of course, the church should come alongside parents to offer support and resources for discipling their children. But, as suggested by Deuteronomy 6:4-9, teaching kids about God and the Bible all begins with mom and dad.
This is why Huddleston has organized “Parenting from the Pew,” a 90-minute online workshop for parents and children’s ministry leaders that will take place at 2 p.m., July 11. According to Windermere’s website, the workshop aims at helping parents encourage their children to grow spiritually not only in the home, but also in the church pew.
“As we re-open our churches, kids are going to be in worship,” she said. “So parenting from the pew – you’re going to have to do it.”
“I’m a real advocate of families being together in corporate worship,” she added.
But, having raised four children in church and sat alongside them in the pew during worship, Huddleston doesn’t think of “parenting from the pew” as a mere obligation. Rather, it is a pleasure and privilege that passes all too quickly.
Last month, Windermere hosted another children’s ministry webinar called “Children’s Ministry in the ‘New Normal,’” which focused on helping churches maneuver the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic.
Both online events, Huddleston added, are building toward a “Children’s Ministry Leadership Retreat” that is scheduled to take place at Windermere’s campground, Oct. 2-4. According to Windermere’s website, the event will provide practical training, covering topics from calendaring events and volunteer recruitment to cleaning restrictions and moving forward in a post-COVID-19 world. But Huddleston is especially hopeful that participants will find spiritual refreshment and a chance to worship the Lord, without distractions or duties to fulfill.
“Windermere is all about disconnecting to reconnect,” Huddleston said. Whether they’re fulltime staff members or volunteers, children’s ministry leaders need the “opportunity to step away, take a deep breath and refocus not only on their ministries, but on their relationship with Christ.”
To register for the July 11th “Parenting from the Pew” workshop or the Oct. 2-4 “Children’s Ministry Leadership Retreat,” visit https://www.windermereusa.org/events/.