WORSHIP TRAINING ► NCF offers weekly “Children in Worship” for the purpose of teaching children to worship. Children in Worship consists of a mini worship service, with an intentional focus on teaching children not just how to do every element of worship, but what they mean and why the church does them. Children in Worship is most appropriate for ages roughly four through eight. There is no “standard age” at which children move from Children in Worship to the full service; elders and ministry work with parents on this process according to each child’s needs and development. It is of great value for children to store up God’s word and his truth in their hearts. Two excellent ways to do this are memorizing Scripture and learning hymns (which often contain Scripture). Children in Worship therefore places a significant focus on both areas, focusing on one memory verse and one hymn each week for an entire month. To remind both the children and the rest of the congregation that we look forward to worshiping all together when the children are ready, on the final Sunday of each month, the children rejoin the congregation following the sermon, and everyone sings together the hymn the children have learned all month.
BIBLE TEACHING ► NCF offers a weekly “Children in the Word” program on Sunday evenings for the purpose of teaching children God’s word. Children in the Word works gradually through the entire Bible using the Gospel Story Curriculum, such that by the time a child moves into youth ministry, he or she will have walked through both the Old and New Testaments. One segment of the ministry focuses on the youngest children, roughly age four through kindergarten, considering that they have the shortest attention spans. The next focuses on first through third graders. So that children can build relationships with their teachers, a consistent group of adults will rotate through leading Children in the Word.
BASECAMP ► NCF is devoting particular attention to helping older children with their transition from Children in Worship to the full worship service, and from elementary school and this ministry into middle school and our youth ministry. NCF offers a weekly “Basecamp” program on Sunday evenings for the purpose of preparing these children to filter the unique challenges they will face in today’s culture through God’s word and the gospel. A consistent group of rotating Basecamp teachers use a curriculum called FourFiveSix that is designed for pre-teens. Basecamp is a two-hour program.
PARENTAL RESOURCES ► NCF provides each child’s parents with straightforward, clear information they can use to build upon Nursery and Children in the Word lessons at home during the week. Nursery volunteers provide children with a letter to their parents each week explaining what they learned and helping them study it further at home. In addition, every family with children receives a devotional based on the curriculum used in Children in the Word. This devotional allows parents—regardless of their teaching experience or spiritual heritage—to lead family worship that will build on what their children learned in Children in the Word, or take them through the entire Bible in a few years’ time even if they do not participate in Children in the Word. The devotional can be adapted for children of almost any age above two.