Central United Methodist Church in Lenoir City has found a new way to take church into children’s homes.
The church in August started a new Central Kids TV.
Despite getting the approval to meet in person in small groups, Evan Nester, Central UMC director of family ministries, didn’t want to start children’s church again.
“Kids, understandably, are very open and free-willed, and they don’t have a care in the world,” Nester said. “That can present a problem in the middle of a pandemic, but our kids are important to us, and they need to be fed just as much as we do as adults. So during the service we just had a children’s moment. A lot of churches implement some kind of kid’s moment during their services. They’ll welcome kids up to the front, and we kind of did that.”
Before COVID-19, children’s church offered worship and teachings styled to the learning abilities of the younger group.
“So I got to thinking about it, I was like I don’t know why we just don’t do a show for our kids, because our kids are already on YouTube,” Nester said. “They’re already watching videos. They’re already doing that kind of stuff. So why not go where they’re already at. So after talking with Rachel Owens, who is our children’s ministry music director, that’s what I like to call her … she does the music for us, and so I had this idea to do a 30-minute show for our kids and really have it broken down into sections that way it’s more digestible.”
With the help of Owens and other volunteers, Nester produces a 30-minute show Sundays on the Central Kids-LC YouTube channel. The show includes 10-15 minutes of music, prayer, 10 minutes of teaching, transitional videos or clips and a memory verse. The plan is to create monthly seasons, with Sunday’s show starting season two.
“This is best suited for probably first through fifth grade,” Nester said. “We’re actually working on something called, ‘Five Minutes with Miss Megan,’ and that will be a really quick teaching time for our 0 to 5-year-old, 0 to kindergarten, and that is in the works, and we plan on starting that after Labor Day.”
For grades 6-12, small groups have been approved to resume. Nester said that change is a blessing because it will allow the church to focus on small groups, which he believes have been lacking in the past.
The Rev. Scott Layer, pastor, thinks the show is important for children because it’s more engaging, allowing them to actually absorb the lessons and worship instead of just stare at a screen.
“It’s important because they still need the children’s worship aspect even if they’re not physically in the building, and that includes all aspects of the children’s message, the children’s church time, children’s music time,” Owens said. “I think it’s all very relevant to not only their physical development, but also their spiritual development as well, so it’s important for me to continue that for them as much as I can.”
April Mathews, kid’s ministry teacher, is one of the volunteers who continued with the program in her home. Because volunteers can’t come to the church, they are sent what they need and record a lesson for the show there.
“The one main reason I continued to do it is not just to make sure I’m still being a shepherd to my kids, but to make sure that they knew that the church didn’t forget about them, and that even though we may not see them in person and different things like that, God’s still present. He’s still there,” Mathews said. “So we wanted to keep that light going. That’s mainly the reason. They get so worked up on so many different things they’re hearing from media, and you’re trying to keep them sheltered from all sorts of stuff, and this is just one way to get away, and it’s something that’s a continued thing that they can get into and just have fun with it.”