She started out looking for a place to meet other moms and spend quality time with their young children.
She ended up finding a church home and a new understanding of grace and forgiveness.
“Pastor changed our way of thinking,” says Amanda Hall, a new member at Prince of Peace, Flower Mound, Texas. “Here I am 36 years old, and I had the direction in which the arrow of grace flows completely wrong. God first gave to me, therefore I give.”
What was the impetus behind this? A congregation looking to reach out to its family-focused community.
“Even at the youngest ages, parents are looking for something to do socially for their kids,” says Amy David, one of the early childhood program directors at Prince of Peace. “Early childhood ministries are such an amazing way to connect to the community.”
Prince of Peace started with a Mornings With Mommy program in 2014, an outreach program that offers age-appropriate activities for young children to do with their parents. The program thrived, and the congregation decided it wanted to take its ministry a step further. “We wanted to directly share the gospel with these families,” says Amanda Singh, another early childhood program director.
To do this, the congregation started a new program in 2016—Power Hour. Singh explains, “The focus of every session is on a Bible story and sharing God’s Word. We’re always bringing it all back to Jesus.”
This preschool program, developed by Bethany Lutheran Church, an Evangelical Lutheran Synod church in Port Orchard, Wash., offers academic learning (i.e., math, literacy, and writing) for children two to five years old and their parents. Each session is based on a Bible story, with a theme pulled out from the story for each learning area.
“It fits into our ministry model—we’re focused on the whole family unit,” says Singh. “That’s what makes Power Hour so impactful—you have the parents come and learn about Jesus too.”
Besides spending time with their children at Power Hour, parents also are invited to Power for Parenting, a parenting class offered by the congregation’s pastor, Brad Taylor.
“As parents, we are bombarded with parenting advice from so many places,” Taylor says. “Trying to navigate all the information and expectations thrown at parents creates a heavy burden. Consciences are weighed down with guilt, shame, and sin. So with each class I have the opportunity to declare to them that Jesus has not just washed away all their children’s sins. He died for their sins too!”
That gospel message hit home. “It’s is difficult to put into words how precious that 35 minutes was with him and the other moms,” says Hall. “Then I’d go to Power Hour afterward and hear my daughter sing praises to God and recite Scripture, and my day would be complete. My cup was full, and I could handle what the day threw at me. It would all be okay because I had Jesus in my heart, on my mind, and in my actions.”
After a Power for Parenting session on Baptism, Hall felt a sense of urgency to baptize her children, and she went home to her husband, ready to take the next step. After taking classes, they became members in 2017. “So here we are, all in!” she says. “Every chance we have to learn more about Jesus at our church, our family is there. Sundays are our favorite day of the entire week.”
At least 450 people have had some contact with the church through its Mornings with Mommy program. By the end of the first year of Power Hour, three families had joined the church, and five baptisms were conducted. “That just speaks to the power of God’s Word,” says David. “Once you get them into Power Hour and you start preaching the gospel—it’s the most powerful tool we have.”
This 150-member congregation is looking to expand its offerings, including starting to plan for a new building to better meet the needs of the congregation and its community.
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Volume 105, Number 2
Issue: February 2018
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2018
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