The heart of the gospel is that God loves his children. We see God’s love displayed in the person of Jesus, who, despite our spiritual rebellion and failure, became a human being and lived, died, and rose again in order to forgive our sin, adopt us into God’s family, transform our lives, and restore the world he loves. The purpose of Central’s Children’s Ministry is to bring the heart of the gospel to the heart of the child so that they might place their trust in Jesus, grow in their knowledge and love of God, and live their lives in grateful response to his grace.
We are convinced that children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3). God deeply loves and values our children. When a group of parents tried to bring their children to Jesus so that he might place his hands upon them and bless them, his disciples attempted to stop the children from approaching Jesus because children simply were not valued in that society. Jesus, however, encouraged the children to come to him. In fact, he claimed that the kingdom of God belongs especially to children, and he lifted up the faithful dependence of a child as the model for all believers (Luke 18:16-17). Central places a special priority on children because they are dearly loved by God.
The promise of the gospel is for our children. When God entered into a special relationship with Abraham, God made his covenant with Abraham and Abraham’s children (Genesis 17:7). Today we believe God continues to work through families. After Jesus established the new covenant through his life, death, and resurrection in fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, the Apostle Peter proclaimed that the promise of the gospel is for our children (Acts 2:39). Children, therefore, not only represent the future of the church but also play a vital role in the present as members of the covenant community. We thus regard children as members of the church and strive to help them grow in their faith, develop their relationship with Jesus, and live in light of the gospel of grace.
The primary responsibility for the Christian nurture of children lies with their parents, but this responsibility extends to the entire Christian community. No one has more influence over the spiritual lives of children than their parents, and the Apostle Paul accordingly instructs parents to raise their children in “the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Nevertheless, the whole corporate body of the church has a role to play. God calls us as families and as the family of God to teach our children about him at all times and in everything we do so that they might share in his promises (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; 11:19-21). In response to this call, we at Central seek to faithfully immerse our children in Jesus’ gospel of grace through:
- Embracing them in the life and community of our church
- Engaging them in worship, prayer, and the study of the Scriptures
- Equipping them to pursue a life of Christ-likeness in grateful response to God’s love
- Empowering Central’s parents to nurture the spiritual lives of their children
WORSHIP FOR CHILDREN
(3yo - 5th Grade)
Families at Central are encouraged to engage their children in worship. Children may join their families during the worship services in their entirety or, during the 10am and 11:30am services, children may join their teachers and peers for Children's Worship. Children will be dismissed after the Prayer with Children. During Children’s Worship, children will learn about God’s love for them and how they can love God and others in response to His love. Bible lessons will be reviewed through fun crafts, games, and activities. Please be sure to check your child in at our check-in table in the narthex before the service and bring your guardian receipt to pick-up. Pick-up is on the 7th floor.
WORSHIP FOR INFANTS AND TODDLERS
(6 months - 2yo)
Central’s Nursery is located on the 7th floor and is open to children ages 6mo-2yo during the 10am and 11:30am services. In the nursery, children will participate in Worship for Infants and Toddlers, a meaningful and gospel-centered program which includes a Bible story, activity time (for toddlers), crafts (for toddlers), songs and prayer. We hope that through this program, as our little ones grow, they will feel sure that they are valued members of this church family, learn of Jesus' great love for them, and respond to this love through praise and worship as modeled by their caregivers and teachers. Please check your child in outside the nursery, making sure to inform the nursery caregivers of any special instructions for your child. Pick-up is immediately following the service—don't forget to bring your guardian receipts!
NURSING MOTHER'S ROOM
The nursing mother’s room is temporarily located downstairs on the fifth floor office next to the staircase. We hope this will be a comfortable place for mothers to care for their infants while also being able to hear what is being sung and said in the Sanctuary.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Vacation Bible School 2024
Registration for Vacation Bible School will open in Spring 2024!
CHILDREN & YOUTH CHOIRS
Central's Children's Choir, directed by music educator and professional singer Lauren Dykstra, provides a place for kids 5yo to 5th grade to learn to sing and read music as well as have opportunities to sing publicly during the Sunday services. All rehearsals take place on Sundays at the church from 11:10-11:50am. Rehearsals for Fall 2023 begin on Sunday, September 17. Please register your children in advance. If you have any questions and would like more information, please contact Lauren Dykstra at email@example.com.
For more information about our Youth Choir and Ensemble, please visit our Youth Ministry page.
Fall Saturday activities for children begin on Saturday, September 23. For a list of all our current programming, please visit our events calendar.
Children’s Basketball Ages 5yo-10yo
Fall Basketball will begin on September 23 and go through November 18.
Children’s Drawing Ages 5yo-10yo
Fall Drawing will begin on September 23 and go through November 18.
MOMS & TOTS PLAYGROUP
Tuesday | 10:00-11:45am
Moms, caregivers, and their babies and toddlers are invited to this free weekly playgroup every Tuesday. Join us on the 7th floor of the church from 10:00am-12:00pm for arts and crafts, music, games, snacks, and free play! No registration required, but please email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for the email list!
THE MUSTARD SEED CLUB
Wednesday | 4:00-5:30pm
Calling all children ages 3yo-2nd grade! You are invited to The Mustard Seed Club! The Mustard Seed Club meets monthly on Wednesday afternoons from 4:00pm-5:30pm. Children will join their small groups for a fun time of worship, a Bible lesson, crafts and gym play. We can’t wait to see you there! The first event of the school year will take place on Wednesday, September 20. Please register your child(ren) in advance.
Mustard Seed Club Fall 2023 Dates:
Wednesday, September 20
Wednesday, October 18
Wednesday, November 8
Friday | 6:00-7:30pm
Fantastic Fridays are special monthly gatherings for 3rd-5th grade boys and girls. Boys and girls' groups meet separately for dinner, games, special activities, and a Bible Study. In the past, we've built pinewood derby cars, painted pumpkins, decorated cookies, played dodgeball, hosted game shows and more! We encourage moms, mentors and family friends to join the girls' gatherings and dads, mentors and family friends to join the boys' gatherings along with our Children's Ministry Team volunteers. The first Fantastic Friday of the school year will take place on September 29 from 6-7:30pm. Please email our Children's Ministry Team at email@example.com to RSVP!
Fantastic Friday Fall 2023 Dates:
Friday, September 29
Friday, October 27
Friday, November 17