When we started coming to Hillsong Church in 2010, we were newly married and had only been in New York a short time. Hillsong NYC had just been planted so services were only happening once a month at Irving Plaza, but we got plugged in by joining a connect group with Charles and Brenda Thorn.
Each week, Brenda would ask us, “Are you serving on a team?” or “Why aren’t you serving?” I thought, “We’re in graduate school. We just moved here, and we don’t what we were doing.” It felt like a commitment I didn’t know we could take on.
I don’t think I understood what it meant to be part of a church with a heart of serving. But we decided to serve on the Host Team because it seemed like the most do-able commitment. When we were asked to help out with the Kids ministry, we realized that it was where we were called to be.
We didn’t have kids at the time, but we both loved kids and eventually wanted our own. We knew how important the next generation was and saw how much of an impact we could have by starting with someone who was not only just beginning their life but their journey with Jesus.
If they think of Jesus as a part of their worldview, it can change the rest of their life – and they have their entire lives ahead of them. In kids, we get to be a part of shaping that foundation that they will take with them no matter where life takes them.
When we started, kids was set up in the bar in Irving Plaza and lounge in Gramercy Theater. We would have to clean off the bar every Sunday morning. You have to be pretty brave, and desperate for Jesus if you drop your kids off at a bar. Half the time we were trying to keep the kids from touching or licking things!
Emily and I have been leading in kids for over five years now. When we had children of our own, it only expanded our heart capacity for relating to the children and their parents.
It’s easy to think you’re the only ones going through a season. We realized there were families who were experiencing the same challenges as we were and we knew we needed to connect with them. When you come together and share your struggles, suddenly you’re a community moving forward together.
We now see the impact that our kids ministry has, not just week to week where we see the same children every Sunday, but in our own family. What our kids learn in church on Sunday, they are taking into their everyday lives and making change.
They may start their journey with Jesus in the kids on a Sunday when they are too scared to be away from their parents. But slowly, they fall into the folds of the children we see on a weekly basis who make decisions for Jesus and have their hearts changed. We’ve seen kids invite other kids, teachers, their own families, and other friends to church. It’s easy to overlook them and not realize the impact they can make for Jesus in the lives of others
As they grow older, they move on to youth where they continue to learn more about Jesus and keep spreading the message that we helped introduced them to. The seeds we are planting with our children through the kids ministry can grow and impact not only the children themselves, but others for years to come.