(Our Children’s Leaders Team (CLT) has been blessing our children and their parents for several years, and as Andrea Lang, who has served with the CLT, has recently become our Pastor of Children’s & Family Ministry, we wanted to take extra time to make sure everyone on the CLT is better known. So, for the next few weeks, we’ll be hearing from everyone on the team.)
by Andrea Lang
I have the great joy to be your new Pastor of Children and Family Ministries. I love people, I love Jesus and I love His church. I am so excited to do this work!
In enthusiasm for this opportunity–and so you get to know my heart–here are the top 10 reasons I am thrilled to be your new pastor:
- I get to work with great people who inspire me. — As you have read, your Children’s Leadership Team is amazing. These women have spent 5 years putting form to our core value of the blessing of children. Their work motivates me to love greater, to press into this call and to cling to our Father. Each one of them is a wealth to our community and are intentional in all that they offer. But we do not lead alone, those that teach in our Sunday morning classes are our co-laborers, giving their love of God and His word week after week. These that volunteer their time are our gems, the village God has raised up to give the gospel to our children and surround them with love. “Thank you” always feels too small for all they give. And of course our staff here at Church of the Cross: fervent in prayer, eager for the growth of the church, maturity of the body, desiring health and wholeness for all, they shepherd rooted in scripture and reliant on the Spirit. We are all blessed!
- I get to spend my time with busy, bright, energetic kids — Your kids are so great! They ask fantastic questions, they engage easily, they are creative, they are giggly, they are reverent, they are wiggly, they are prayerful, they are generous, they think deeply, they are the church – and I love them! In all honestly, I have to quiet myself so that my extroverted nature can create the peaceful spaces we want to offer at times. It is just so fun to be together!
- I get to organize people and gatherings — I am a first-born and don’t mind being a bit of an organizer. I love to think of who can come, what supplies they need, what time might be best, how to help everyone feel included, details of food and location and then open the doors and watch it all come together. I look forward to communion classes, VBS, weekly Sunday school, soup suppers and all the events that we gather as Kids of the Cross and the extended church family. Making plans brings me great joy!
- I get to make space for God to do His work — So much of what we do in children’s ministry is not our work at all. All we really do is carve out a moment, deeply trusting that God will move in our midst. Putting our hope in His Spirit as it says in John 14:26 to “teach all things and remind of all that Jesus taught”. We prepare the space, tell the lesson, invite the responses and God is the real teacher and will remind the children of His word throughout their lives.
- I get to pray often — Surrender and trust. Alyssa wrote in her blog to the Bible’s promise “that the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective,” we claim the work of Christ and the righteousness offered in His blood as we pray throughout the building each week lifting up the leaders and the children. Trusting also in Psalms 127 if God does not build the house we labor in vain. May our Father go before us each step of the way!
- I still get to collaborate with Liz (maybe even more than before!) — The tears of her leaving have been replaced with joy. We are still making plans. We are still working together. We spent some of our annual retreat brainstorming, as children’s leaders, ways to collaborate – reaching across the Twin Cities and celebrating the new church plant of Restoration right in the middle. Our first efforts will be to aid each other in offering our communion class at COTC in March and at Redeemer in April.
- I get to go to church everyday! — Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere, Psalms 84:10. While I know God’s presence is everywhere, these hollowed spaces that are weekly bathed in the word, prayer and sacrament are a joy on busy Sundays and a quiet place to prepare during the week, a true sanctuary.
- I get to send a bunch of emails — I will not get carried away, I hope, but I do love email. In a world of junk mail I know we are all saturated, but I love to write notes, keep in touch, share info, say hello, articulate vision and thanks, gather people’s thoughts and well… COMMUNICATE!
- I get to do this work with my family — Matt and the kids are my biggest support and pinch hitters. When I first told Anika I may be stepping into a greater role, without a moment’s pause she replied, “Don’t worry mommy, I will help you!” I love her willing spirit and I love that our kids at COTC know they have something to offer. Matt was an expert in the nursery years ago knowing which children preferred books or trains and has taught in the 2nd-3rd grade class, regularly teaches now in the 4th-6th grade class and has been the doorperson in Godly Play. My partner in life and ministry, I love him so much!
- I get to give away that which has been given to me — My life verse has become “Freely you have been given, freely give” from Matthew 10. Jesus is sending His disciples out to do the work of the kingdom and this statement, from verse 8, is the reason He gives for their calling. I pray this spirit will mark my work here at Church of the Cross. I want to honor both those people who have poured freely into my life and most importantly the free gift of God, eternal life, that is to be given to all!