Earlier this year we were discussing the fact that we currently didn’t have many young families at the church and that our children weren’t visible to the wider congregation. So I suggested we start the ‘Kids’ Box’, an idea my pastor father had come up with many years ago.
You get a container with a lid that no one can see into and decorate it. The idea is that you send the Kids’ Box home with a different child each week. They are asked to put one item in the box – it could be a toy, pen, watch, fork, phone, soft toy, ball or any other everyday item. They bring the box to church the following Sunday, and the pastor invites the children to come and sit together on the stage.
The pastor has no idea what’s in the box until they take the lid off! And here’s where the fun starts. As soon as they see the item they have about 30 seconds to figure out how to link it to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or the Bible. It’s often hilarious to see how they will link it. You do need to make it understandable for the children, so no difficult theological answers are allowed!
Of course, the longer you do this the harder the objects become. You also start to realise when the parents put something in the box rather than their child!
What I love most about the Kids’ Box is that it is fun for all ages. I sometimes think the adults are having more fun than the children.
When the pastor has finished the story or explanation, we pray for the children before sending them off to their programmes. It’s a great way for the whole church family to see our children and it’s a tangible way to show that our children are important to us. We want them to be visible, rather than unseen.
One of the keys to the success of this idea is that all the pastors take turns. It’s not something that only the children & families pastor does.
I’ve had loads of feedback from the parents and congregation, saying that one of the reasons they love the Kids’ Box is that they are often unsure how to link the events and items of everyday life to God. So, it’s encouraging and helping them in their parenting at home at the same time.
It really is a win-win situation. As the outreach pastor I feel it is important for our people, and new people who come to church on a Sunday, to realise that children are important to us and that we treasure them. Hopefully, new families will see this and decide to stay and join our church family. It is also a non -threatening way for families to share with their friends what we do on a Sunday.
Story: Rachel White.
Rachel is the outreach pastor at Mt Albert Baptist Church.
This article was originally published in the February-April 2018 edition of Connect, a publication of the Baptist Children & Family Ministries, and is used with permission.