Imagine walking into a church nursery and hearing seven little voices and their parents singing. “Today is the day for singing hello, singing hello, singing hello,” they trill. You see and hear the enthusiasm of the toddlers and preschoolers as they do accompanying motions. A curious infant bounces on her mother’s knee. You see parents' contented smiles as the group begins another Old Testament adventure from a Sparkhouse Frolic Family Faith Class.
This scene took place on ten Thursday evenings during Winter Community Nights at Trinity United Methodist Church. Our church in Orrville, Ohio has an average weekly attendance of 163. The one-hour sessions gave families from Trinity UMC and Trinity Christian Preschool an opportunity to play, sing, laugh, and learn about faith together. As the Director of Children’s Ministry trying this approach for the first time, I’m thrilled with how Frolic has worked for my church.
How it works
The Frolic Bible is central to the success. Several parents commented on how much they liked the clear stories. “You are good,” “God takes care of you,” “You are a blessing to your family,” and “Families protect each other” are single key points from the stories they could remember and reinforce throughout the week. They reminded families of a caring, forgiving, protective God that is central to family life.
What it looks like
Families conclude the fifteen-minute gathering and story time. Then they move to stations throughout the room. They get to engage in art, imaginative play, reading, sensory, and other age appropriate activities. Each family goes at their own pace and participates in chosen stations. Parents interact with their children, chatting with each other and having a great time.
When surveyed, one parent commented that this parent-child playtime “provided intentional family time while learning God’s word.” Another shared enthusiasm about the “time to get out and do something educational and Biblical together.” Some expressed appreciation for the chance to connect with other young families.
During our time working through the Frolic class, I left the church each Thursday evening with a happy heart. This ministry engaged regular church attenders, new church attenders, and families that connected through the preschool. People from all walks of life came together around a common goal: to share the Bible with their children. I witnessed relationships being built between families as they supported each other through the rigors of parenting. I saw families wondering about elements of the Bible stories and bravely asking questions about the content. Zealously engaged children brought me joy and laughter when they carted around purple leopards and tattered lions for their lesson about Daniel.
All families indicated interest in continuing this ministry in the fall to experience the ten New Testament stories. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Learn more about Sparkhouse’s Frolic curriculum for infants, preschoolers, and families.