Though Kingsway Christian Church has always had incredible Sunday morning kids’ programming since they opened their doors in 1973, the staff felt that the physical environment had become outdated so they decided to completely transform a wing of the building that’s devoted to first through fourth-graders. As they were thinking through priorities, they considered what parents most valued.
“I know that when someone shows love to my kid, they’re showing love to me. The best way to get to my heart is through my children,” says Rebecca Crews, Kingsway’s first through fourth-grade Kids Minister. “We’re showing parents that children are important by giving them the best space in our church.”
Crews has worked in a number of other churches across the nation and therefore seen loads of innovative ideas, which she incorporated into Kingsway’s design.
“We have so many fun yet functional things,” Crews says. “Kids are going to love it.”
The new rooms include rock climbing walls, a Ninja Warrior-type obstacle course, arcade games, video games, a black light area and a creative arts area. There’s also a building spot with Legos, a giant magnetic wall and several climbing structures.
“There are many different pieces for every room so no matter what type of child you have — whether they’re super outgoing and high energy or shy and introverted — there’s something that appeals to them,” says Crews, noting that they have a dynamite special needs inclusion program.
“We have boys and girls with various special needs in each classroom so we wanted to hit every learning style and develop an environment where kids are both excited and comfortable,” Crews says.
Another big aspect of the renovation involves security.
“This is a more sobering topic these days with so many safety issues at schools and churches, so we wanted to do everything possible to ensure that our kids are safe,” Crews adds. During the service, the children’s wings are completely locked down so that no one can enter without being escorted by security.
“This adds a physical barrier to our security policies that were already in place,” Crews says.
At Kingsway, they don’t use the term “Sunday school,” which evokes an image of boys and girls sitting quietly in desks. Instead, they call it “kids’ programming,” which encompasses a passion for learning about God with lots of hands-on, interactive fun. Think Vacation Bible School, only weekly.
The boys and girls start out each Sunday morning by having free play time to blow off steam and build friendships. Then they enter a large-group space full of state-of-the-art equipment where they participate in creative, high-energy worship.
“They’re singing and dancing around as they praise God and having fun doing it,” Crews says.
That’s followed up with a Bible story using a rotating series. For example, they recently did a series called “Riddle Rangers.” Next is “Emoji Madness” where they will talk through how to handle various emotions.
“We hit all the different learning styles,” Crews says. “We’re even doing a series called ‘Slime Time’ where we’ll literally teach the Bible through slime.”
After Bible time, the children break into small groups where they play games that reinforce how to apply that day’s lesson into their lives.
“There’s not a lot of sitting,” Crews says. “We hope that this kids’ area will help boys and girls take the next steps in their faith. We’re eager to share with them the love of Jesus by making them feel welcomed, loved and accepted.”
Kingsway staff anticipate that this new kids’ space will make parents feel comfortable and excited about bringing their sons and daughters to church.
“We also hope they want to bring their friends,” Crews says. “We’d love to see a lot of new faces.” If you are looking for a church home, please consider this an invitation to check out Kingsway. Kingsway has kids programming each Sunday during its 9:15 and 11 a.m. worship services.