On Palm Sunday, the children of Smoke Rise Baptist Church marched down the aisles waving their branches and leading us in worship. Standing on the platform, I could look out and see so many smiling faces in our congregation. The children of our church inspire us. In his vision of the Peaceful Kingdom, Isaiah writes, “And a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).
At Smoke Rise, I am thankful that little children not only learn but also teach. They not only follow but also lead in our congregation. Children’s Sunday is one of my favorite worship services of the year. On May 6, the children will lead us in the worship of God by offering prayers, singing songs, collecting offering and reading scripture. We will celebrate together as several of our children share their faith stories and are baptized. I am also pleased to announce that two children, Blaine Colliver and Sophia McClendon, will be standing beside me in the pulpit and preaching our message. On Sunday evening at 4pm, the Children Choristers will present their Spring Musical, “Table for Five…Thousand.” It will be an extra special Sunday at Smoke Rise!
Of course, in our children’s ministry, each Sunday is special and each child is a precious gift from God. Each week, our Children’s Sunday school teachers prepare lessons using Biblical stories to teach age-appropriate theology and to help our children learn and grow in faith. They memorize verses in the Bible and the books of the Bible. They learn about caring and sharing, serving God through serving others, and what it means to follow Jesus.
On the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sundays, while adults worship in the Sanctuary, the children worship in their own special space. They light a Christ candle; they take prayer requests; they engage in creative expressions. It is sometimes silly, sometimes serious, but always sacred.
At the same time, the preschoolers worship in our Chapel space. These youngest members of our church family are already learning how to worship. They pass an offering plate. Some children bring pennies, nickels, dimes or dollars, while others bring cards that they can send to homebound members or toys that can be given to children in the community. They share stories from the scriptures and stories from their little lives.
As a pastor and a parent, I am so very proud of the children of our church. I know you are too! We are blessed to have incredible ministers like Becky, Amanda, and Harrison as well as so many who volunteer to share their time and talents. This May, let take time to pray for each child at Smoke Rise and to express our gratitude to all those who lead our children and their families.
Still Learning from our little ones—