Ministry Feature: Preschool

FB Gulfport,
It was a very difficult decision, but I am retiring my position as Preschool Ministry Director.
However, I am NOT retiring from ministry, and you will still see me! Thank you for this opportunity to reflect on why I have spent so many years with our precious little ones!

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Matthew 19:14

In a culture that so often devalues children, why should we follow Jesus’ example? Simply put, Jesus got it! More is learned in our first five years than at any other period in our lives. We transform from a helpless newborn with no conception of the world to a self-sufficient kindergartener who has mastered motor skills, a language, thinking and reasoning, emotions, as well as spiritual awareness.

Back in the day, children were cared for in church so that parents could do important “adult things."  “Nursery workers”, perhaps even paid, made sure that basic needs were met and that children remained safe and happy. Fast forward to the days of early childhood education, research in brain plasticity and knowledge in the advantages of early intervention. We now understand that we can to do more than just meet basic needs. Our goal is to help mold hearts to trust God, to know Jesus, to walk in His ways, to love church.......this is of utmost importance in planting the seeds of the Gospel.

That is why we strive for excellence. That is why we train our teachers in safety, guiding children, and reaching out to families. That is why we commit to be the face of Jesus to these babies each Sunday. That is why we leave the comfortable adult world and enter the world of a child. Little ones are not the “future church"; they are the church now.

In a world that seems to be falling apart, it is vital to capitalize on the time we are given with these tiny blank slates. What a difference it made in my life back in 1985! I still remember my first visit to FB Gulfport. The baby teachers told us, “We don’t just keep babies, we put 'JESUS' in them!” Thank you, church, for putting Jesus in Drew and Preston Dabbs and for encouraging me to do the same! I’m so thankful that my boys still love their churches and serve their Savior! There’s no better investment!

That’s what we are about: reaching a generation for Christ by coming beside parents with intentionality. We fiercely protect our children to give them and their parents a sense of security. We teach in order to give a foundation for God’s precepts. We use curriculum designed with a “scope and sequence” with developmentally appropriate activities to cover all the basics of spiritual development. Our June lessons about worshiping God illustrate this.

Here were our verses and stories:
Samuel in The Tabernacle: I will teach you the way to go. Psalm 32:8
The People Sang: Come, let us worship God. Psalm 95:6
People Prayed for Peter: Pray for one another. James 5:16
The Antioch Church Helped: Help one another in love. Galatians 5:13
Teaching. Worshiping. Praying. Helping. What an awesome God we serve and what a privilege to impart His Truths to the next generation! Thank you church, staff, and preschool team! I am always available for you and your family. You are a blessing in my life!

To His Glory,
Anita

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