This post is sponsored by The Gospel Project and explains why at Grace Fellowship Church we use their product
There are a lot of different options for Bible studies and children’s ministry curriculum. But how do you decide which is the right one for your ministry? While it is helpful to review a publisher’s website and taking a look at samples, it’s incredibly important to hear from people who actually use these resources on a weekly basis. That’s why we’ve asked Aileen Challies (Tim’s wife), who leads the Early Years program at Grace Fellowship Church, about her experience with The Gospel Project.
Can you tell us a bit about your church?
We worship and serve at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We have about 300 people attending on a Sunday morning and our church is a mixture of people coming from a large variety of backgrounds. I currently head up The Early Years Program. On a Sunday morning, we provide childcare for kids ages 0 to 5. We have grown quite a bit in the last few years. When I first started running this ministry about 7 years ago we had one combined class, but now, we are running three classes (0-2, 2-3, 4-5) every Sunday morning. We currently have about 35-40 kids participating in the programming. I have been using the Gospel Project for a year or so in the preschool program and recently made the switch to using across all our classes.
What are the backgrounds of the children you’re serving?
We have a variety of kids participating in the program. Most come from established Christian homes, though some are also from homes of newer believers and a few from non-Christian homes. This means we have to be able to speak to children who come from very different contexts.
What do you see as the goal of children’s ministry at any age-level?
For the littlest attendees of our church, our program is their first introduction to what church is. While we recognize the primary responsibility for Christian education lies in the home, we want to take every opportunity to begin to lay the building blocks of truth in these little lives. We want to do more than just babysit for a couple of hours on a Sunday morning—we want to teach and train them as well.
What made The Gospel Project stand out to you?
There are a few things that made The Gospel Project stand out to me:
First, I wanted to find material that was theologically sound. That was very important to me. Every week The Gospel Project points the children to Christ’s work on the cross without being trite or skipping over difficult parts of the Bible.
Second, it was important to me that each class would be taught the same lesson (though at different age-appropriate levels) so that parents could use the take-home material and review it. We want to provide parents tools that help them reinforce the truths taught to their kids each week.
Third, I appreciate the flexibility in the lesson plans. Our church meets in a rented facility, so do not have a permanent classroom set up. The lessons provided give a variety of reinforcement activities that allow us to pick and choose which ones work for our physical setting. Fourth, the material is attractive and the kids enjoy it.
Finally, the budget was an important consideration for us. The Gospel Project has many different components in each module that allowed us to choose what would suit our budget.
How did your volunteers and other leaders respond to the material when they saw it?
My leaders and volunteers love using this material (which hasn’t been true of some of the other material we’ve tried in the past). They appreciate the layout and the ease with which they are able to prepare to teach on Sunday mornings. Happy volunteers make for a better program!
How have the children responded to what they’re learning?
Our kids all engage well with the lessons and constantly surprise us with how much of God’s truth they retain each week. The lessons are a good length, and the activities effectively reinforce the lessons.
If you were speaking to another church leader, what would you want them to know about this resource?
The Gospel Project is an excellent material that I highly recommend. It has cut down on the amount of overhead I have to do in preparing and managing teaching material. I cannot emphasize enough the benefit of having comprehensive, engaging, and trustworthy material. Our children’s programming is better and more effective because of The Gospel Project!
The Gospel Project would love for you to explore our Christ-centered Bible studies for yourself! Head over to gospelproject.com/preview and get free samples from both the Old and New Testaments!