Pauls Valley Democrat
While it is no great secret that the future of any church depends on what is done to grow its base through the next generation, success also comes from how children feel involved on a personal level.
Take it from a former Pauls Valley teacher of the year, Teresa Begley, to help her fellow parishioners at First Christian Church figure out that even spiritual learning is not only about what one hears in a classroom setting, but being involved in the actual learning process.
Called “Worship & Wonder,” since it began earlier this year, it’s been a way for their youngest members to figure out what forming faith is all about through interactive stories and asking questions important to their own foundation.
“The way the program is set up, it engages the students in learning,” said Begley. “They’re actually seeing the stories dramatized... That makes the story come alive, it makes it real.”
Hoping to find a way to keep kids interested in the church experience, several people from the congregation went through a training program earlier this year, and the storytellers along with Begley include Judy Powers, Danielle Caldwell, Caroline Beck and Vaughn C. Johnson.
Each Sunday during part of the regular service which starts at about 10:50 a.m. kids proceed to the children’s church room next to the main building and get involved in an almost a theatric-setting where one of the instructors have memorized their role the week before.
The kids get a chance to arrive at their own conclusions through an interactive story basket with all the supplies for the particular day ready and also get a chance to enjoy a biblical related craft as well as snack time, said Begley.
The idea is also one FCC Pastor Peggy D. Farris has been supporting all the way and instead of lecturing children and looking at them, she also likes how it mirrors her own way of giving a sermon through a storytelling format.
“They know the expectations when they come in... The kids are learning a proper behavior in a worship environment,” said Begley, who said after the kids reach a certain age they can then transition to the regular service. “I’m really excited.”
Even with 5 to 10 regular kids coming, those involved are inviting anyone else in the community to bring their children to be a part of it as it grows. Adults can become involved in the project if they have time to be trained in the program.
“It’s open to anyone in the community who wants to come,” said Farris. “It’s a simple way of telling, but it pulls you in so well.”
For more information contact the church at 405-238-6632 or Farris at 405-226-3620.