At City South Church in Edmonton, Alberta, kids are an important part of the church family. Children in the congregation have plenty of opportunities to learn about the Bible, to respond to Jesus, to have fun—and to participate in hands-on ministry.
The children of City South serve their church and community in creative ways, often inspired by the needs of each season. In the past, Sunday school classes have gone door-to-door distributing dried soup gift bundles to the surrounding neighbourhood. Braving the winter cold, the children enjoyed meeting their church neighbours and praying with them.
In the spring and fall, the kids have planted sunflowers in the church flower beds or painted encouraging messages on the sidewalk outside an assisted seniors’ residence. In October 2020, the church held a Pumpkin Pie and Prayer event. Adults and children handed out 100 pumpkin pies and offered to pray with people in the community. The volunteers were amazed at how open people were to visit and share their prayer requests.
The summer months always provide many opportunities to mix fun, fellowship and outreach. At an off-leash dog park in the city, children have helped hand out dog treats and converse with pet owners. At the “I Scream for Ice Cream” event, volunteers of all ages ran a free ice cream station in the church parking lot for the community. Kids were excited to take part in all aspects of the event—serving up ice cream, waving people in with signs and connecting with families from the neighbourhood.
“Fostering natural connections and showing love in practical ways is a culture we want to create in our kids at South,” says Carolyn Wentzel, City South’s children’s pastor. “I would say we’re not experts at this but definitely we want our kids to do church beyond its building walls and just share love with others. We want it to be a natural thing for them.”
City South kids reach far beyond their own church and neighbourhood. In the summer of 2021, the children met near City Hall in downtown Edmonton. They spent time enjoying a splash park, followed by a picnic and a discussion about what the Bible says about government. They ended their time with a prayer walk around City Hall, praying for municipal, provincial and federal leaders. A few months later, they prepared gift cards and notes of encouragement for health care workers at one of the city’s hospitals. In the era before COVID restrictions, City South kids have visited hospital patients with gifts and a willingness to pray and listen.
Spanning the globe, the children have also formed a connection with 200 vulnerable children in the Democratic Republic of Congo through the church’s partnership with Hands at Work Africa.
“Our kids have developed a real heart for the poor and vulnerable in this area of the world and have personally given and raised funds, sent encouragement parcels and video messages and have continued to pray for these kids on a regular basis,” Carolyn says.
God working in and through children—this is good news!
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