As good and faithful Presbyterians, our inability to gather in person won’t stop us from getting together virtually to praise God — and to fulfill our call to participate in our denomination’s annual special offerings!
The Pentecost Offering, which is aimed at supporting children and youth, provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the ways our youngest disciples help make up the Body of Christ. This activity will encourage us and our children to recognize their contribution to our faith.
Begin the time with your children by asking them who their favorite teachers are. Encourage them to talk about what these people do that makes them great teachers. It’s very likely your children will share the names of adults. Point this out to them. Ask them if children can be teachers. What might other children teach them? What could children teach adults?
Read aloud John 6:1-14. After reading the story, ask your children who they think the teacher is in this story. Share that there are at least two teachers. Jesus clearly teaches those gathered by creating an abundance of food from just a few fish and loaves of bread, but the boy is also a teacher. He offers the small amount of food he has to the disciples for Jesus to perform this miracle. The boy teaches the adults to be generous and to trust Jesus to provide for them.
Building on the idea of children as teachers, take the opportunity to share with your children ways they have helped you learn and grow your faith. Tell them a story or two about times they have shown you a truth about God or have expanded your faith.
Finally, extend the concept of child-teachers to their peers. Note that children can not only teach adults but they can also help nurture one another’s faith. Ask your kids to think about friends who bring them closer to God. (You may want to brainstorm traits of God with your children and ask them to think of other kids who demonstrate these traits to help them make this connection). After creating a list of these friends, have your children share their gratitude for the ways these young people grow their faith. There are a few different ways they can do this. They could draw a picture showing the friend doing something Christ-like or they could write a note to the friend describing how she/he/they have supported their faith development. You can then mail or email these to the young friend. Alternately, the child could make a short video to send to the friend. Congregations may even want to consider collecting these to share with their membership as an invitation to contribute to the Pentecost Offering.
Here’s a sample video I made for my son, sharing the ways he helps me grow in my understanding and appreciation for the Creator. Your children could make similar videos for their friends.
JOELLE BRUMMIT-YALE is the director of children’s and youth ministries at Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. When not at the church, she can usually be found at home with her son and husband caring for their many animals and developing their family homestead.