(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 Sonia Keillor

I’ve long known I’d work with children. There is a way in which children cross socioeconomic, language, cultural, racial and religious barriers in their childish simplicity which I find delightful. On the path to choosing a career, I came to a fork and needed to decide between nursing (pediatrics, of course) and teaching. Because of a meaningful experience on a high school mission trip to poor, rural West Virginia, working with the children in a vacation Bible school setting, I chose teaching.

I received my degree in Elementary Education  from Northwestern College (now the University of Northwestern, St. Paul). A good slice of my classes were Bible and Theology classes, typical of all students at Northwestern. A highlight of my degree was the education program’s very hands-on approach to our learning to teach, being in local classrooms as early as our second year. Also I remember my “1-2 Corinthians” class very well and fondly.

Given my background, it is little surprise that I would find myself in the roles that I have in ministry to children and families, and homeschooling my own four children, but having expected to do neither, I have been pleasantly surprised in finding myself in these two positions. My responsibilities in my ministry role are primarily focused on the Godly Play program, which emphasizes  a narrative approach to Scripture, via storytelling. Rejecting the notion that children are blank slates, in the Godly Play room, children are invited into a pilgrim journey. Children are shown how to get ready, body and mind, in order that they have ears to hear and eyes to see, like the weekly “getting ready” of the congregation as they prepare to receive Christ’s body and blood.

Throughout my life, from my childhood days of reading my picture Bible, my formative Confirmation program, and my academic Bible classes, God’s living and active Word has transformed, refined and molded me. The curiosity and imagination, sincerity and candor, and joy and trust of children are refreshing. I find great satisfaction  in my work as a guide for children in their spiritual formation and feel privileged to be given the opportunity to introduce them to our Good Shepherd: the Light, the Redeemer, the Way, the Truth and the Life.