In Kidzone at the bridge, we exist to connect kids to God, to one another, and to their world in and through Jesus. It is our prayer to see transformed kids impacting their world with God’s love out of an overflow of the personal relationship they are growing with Him. We do this through the 4Gs! These started out one way this year, and have taken a bit of a detour in terms of how they play out due to the pandemic, but it is amazing the way that God and His perfect plans cannot be stopped. He is still at work in such mighty ways, and is moving transformatively in the lives and hearts of His children.
We started out this ministry year with our gatherings in the gym where we would worship God through song & dance, prayer, giving our offering together to Him and more. In the spring, this shifted quickly to become Kidzone Online, where many of our faithful volunteers continued to serve and step outside of their comfort zones through preparing and creating an online Sunday worship and teaching time for our various age groups. When the lockdown started, we also got creative and started gathering over social media every weekday at lunch time for stories! This really quickly became a special time of connection and routine for our kids to come together in a time of so much change and unknown. We had 25-30 families daily engaged in listening, laughing, learning and reflecting together on the various things Jesus calls us to do.
While we would normally gather for a variety of summer camp experiences in our building, this year we moved our camps online! A huge highlight was the engagement in BOLT VBS. We had over 130 kids participate with their families this summer in a 3-day experience of bolting towards a stronger faith in Christ.
For the first half of the ministry year, we grouped in age-specific classes each Sunday in our building, with our committed leaders to experience Bible teaching, games, crafts, relationship building, and more. As the year continued on, it became quite tricky for us to group our kids. But this summer, we piloted bi-weekly online Kidzone Konnection groups for our 4th and 5th graders, which we are now continuing to develop and are being offered for all of our Grades 1-5 kids. Kids crave meaningful connection just like adults and it’s so beautiful to see them build relationships with one another, and with our volunteers, where they feel safe, loved and encouraged in their faith journey. We also believe in the power of families grouping together to disciple kids in their walk with Jesus, so we’ve developed an entire online resource page designed specifically to help equip and empower parents with a variety of resources.
Our Kidzone kids have such hearts to give to God and His work. We incorporate our weekly giving time into our worship experience, as giving is another way we disciple our kids to worship God! And our kids had the opportunity to physically bring and put their offering into our special Kidzone bucket here at church, and since being online, our kids have created Family Offering Envelopes where they continue this spiritual discipline right at home. Kidzone also continues to sponsor our Compassion child who lives in Ecuador. Kids are provided the opportunity to give encouragement to her in the form of letters and pictures all throughout the year!
In Kidzone, we also GO! Being OnMission in following Jesus and living out our faith is SO valuable to us. For example, this year, our kids created snack bags for the Out of the Cold programs; special cards for the Christmas Cheer baskets; we made a thank you collage for the front-line workers at Markham-Stouffville Hospital; and our kids collected over 100 backpacks for kids in need in York Region. In addition, the kids were given regular practical ideas for how they could demonstrate God’s love and kindness in their communities and their families during quarantine. One of my favourite ways we got to see our kids “go” this year was through the giving of their time and talents to God! We had close to 20 of our 3rd-5th graders use their God given gifts to creatively share devotionals on the life of Jesus and the Fruit of the Spirit; devotionals by our kids, FOR our kids!
I think I’ve mentioned our amazing volunteers, but not enough can be said for these incredibly faithful servants who have been willing to minister VERY differently in an age of online ministry. They love your kids SO much and passionately desire them to know Jesus in a transformative way. We love our Kidzone volunteers!
Though we miss being in person, we would be amiss not to recognize the way that we have been able to reach and connect with many new kids and families in this age of being online. We are so excited for all that God has in store for this new ministry year! Be sure to check out the encouraging stories and more details from our kids, parents and volunteers below.