I am excited to be coming on board in a full-time music position here at IPC. After 19 years of service in a part-time capacity, I look forward to not only coordinating music for The Table 5 pm Worship, but also expanding children’s and youth music as well.

Children’s Ministries has spent the past year implementing processes that we focused on with Ministry Architects. We realized the need to continue to narrow our focus and prioritize the most important thing – faith development. Our programing has always been intentional, but we made it our top priority to provide opportunities for spiritual growth. 

It is that time of year. Isn’t it? The school supplies are purchased. The backpacks are packed, and the first day outfits are ready and waiting. School is about to begin! Because of the Summer Learning Program at the Children’s Fresh Air Farm, 95 students at Hayes K-8 School are beginning classes a little more prepared.

If you’ve been around Ministry Architects at all, you've probably heard this metaphor about the dance floor. But just in case, allow me to spell it out. The dance floor is the set of systems where our ministry to youth takes place. Without healthy systems, we can create the most engaging programs known to youth ministry, and dancers will continue to be carried off that floor broken and disappointed, one after another.

Nearly three years ago, we embarked on a journey with Ministry Architects to create a space for our youth to grow, to lead and to wrestle with the tough questions. We wanted a safe, positive space for them to explore those questions stemming from our faith and from their lives. New Youth Director Isaac Toney is passionate about creating places for our youth to ask honest questions and wrestle with the answers.

Since November, I have had the joy of serving as the Acting Director of Christian Education. I have known and worked alongside the CE staff for many years now. However, my respect for them has grown immensely as we have shared the work of educating and nurturing the men, women, youth and children of IPC. At the end of 2018, the consulting firm, Ministry Architects, completed its work with the Children, Youth and Young Adult Ministry areas. We wanted to share how our work with Ministry Architects is enriching our ministry.

Guests arrive and settle themselves at a table to chat, work puzzles, listen to music, and color the latest coloring pages. They visit with other guests and volunteers over a cup of coffee or a glass of lemonade and snacks. Henry plays his guitar, which leads to a hearty sing-along of old hymns, Hank Williams, Elvis, and Peter, Paul and Mary. Laughter erupts when we hit some old Hee Haw songs. Toby, the dog, works his way around the group for some petting and puppy kisses. This is just your typical morning at Recess.

When asked what they did this summer, eight youth will be able to say, "I helped build church classrooms in Mexico as part of the first recent IPC youth global mission team."

The excitment of a summer filled with learning, music, art, swimming, nutrition, gardening, and field trips often ends with a few tears. The Summer Learning Program graduation is a tearful event. By then, students have grown academically by several months and spiritually.  Typically, the fifth graders are leaving the Farm for the last time… until now.

We live in a highly connected world where we are hardly more than an arm’s reach away from a computer. The technology has changed how we connect, interact, communicate, learn, conduct business and financial transactions, and entertain ourselves. In keeping up with the need to easily access information 24/7, we are launching a new church software system on Monday.