This weekly class is geared towards families with children in 4th grade or below. On Wednesday evenings, bring an optional picnic dinner at 5:30. Gather by households on the pavement by the gym. Bring a picnic blanket or camping chairs. We officially begin at 6pm. We sing catechism songs, introduce each week’s catechism question, and then families learn and practice together through fun and creative activities. Everything you need for these activities will be provided.The boundary is flexible, so younger or older siblings are welcome if that best fits your family's needs. This time may get loud or messy, but that's ok! We're learning together.
Youth Small Groups
Sunday evenings starting at 7pm (drop off at 6:45), the Middle School (5th-8th grades) and High School (9th-12th grades) will meet on alternating weeks in Dri Bayer's backyard. Contact Dri or check the Events Calendar to see whose week it is. While we want to strongly encourage families to participate in either the Family Gathering or the Evening Office on Wednesdays for family-centered Christian education, there is still value in age-based learning and fellowship, particularly for 5th-12th graders. We see this as supplementary to what families are already doing at home, not a replacement for it. We want to support the foundation parents have already laid and continue to lay. These groups will serve to stoke the faith of our youth through meaningful, thought-provoking discussion around the remaining New City Catechism questions, give them words to clarify and articulate our faith tradition, and provide peer accountability for maintaining spiritual disciplines.
Our New Approach
The Coronavirus pandemic has forced us to rethink how we approach Christian Education, but that’s not all bad. We cannot easily maintain physical distancing or masking policies with children under a certain age, therefore, we are unable to have age-based class breakouts for younger children at this time. But by focusing on family units, we can allow parents to help enforce masking and maintain physical distancing by sitting in family groups. This is the safest way for us to continue to meet together at this time.
A beautiful side effect of this model is that it empowers parents engage with their children's spiritual development in a very hands-on way. And it allows families to practice having spiritual conversations in a fun, safe, and supportive environment that will hopefully spill over into everyday life. Our goal is to help parents live out the model in Deuteronomy 6: “You shall teach [God's commandments] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Parents are the single most important influence in their children’s lives. The National Study of Youth and Religion conducted by Christian Smith and the University of North Carolina concluded that parents “get what they are,” and teens are much more conventional than typically given credit for. Whatever they grow up doing is typically what they will continue doing. Parental discipleship is not one sit down lesson, but a thousand tiny conversations and a way of life. We have an opportunity to make an intentional shift and add spiritual disciplines as a “normal” part of our daily lives, and consequently, our children's daily lives, so that “when they are old they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).” This is something that the author of Deuteronomy 6 divinely understood - that faith and true religion must be practiced together, not just communally as a church, but within the family unit in order to pass it down from generation to generation.