Ministry with Children
At St. John’s, we believe children have rich spiritual lives, and we are called to help nurture this growing relationship with God. In our ministry with children, we hope to help them get to know God through the stories of faith found both in the Bible and in the world around us.
Formation Hour, 9:15am-10:15am on Sundays
We recognize that families lead busy lives and are not always able to participate fully in mid-week activities. So we have created a coordinated curriculum that combines Bible study, music, worship education, and opportunities to learn about and express servant faith.
Infants and Toddlers
Infants and toddlers are loved and cared for by our weekly volunteers. They experience the presence of God through gentle hands, kind words, and a comforting environment. They meet on the first floor preschool hall. Children at this age stay in their room for the Formation Hour and the Worship Hour.
Children ages 3-Kindergarten make a weekly craft, hear a Bible story, sing together, have a snack, and play together. They meet on the 1st floor preschool hall. Children at this age stay in their room for the Formation Hour and the Worship Hour.
Children in 1st-5th grades meet on the second floor. Our Formation Hour is a busy time of active learning. The chalkboard in the hallway will help you know where to go. The elementary classes use the Seasons of the Spirit curriculum resource to learn Bible stories, learn about the seasons of the church year, and learn how we can work with God in the world. Art activities, discussion time, and games help the children engage more deeply with the stories they learn. Sandy Holland, our Children’s Music Director, helps children learn songs of faith and helps them understand the role of being a worship leader as the music classes get the opportunity to lead worship. Once a month, our Missions Resource Team helps children learn about ways St. John’s is doing God’s work in the world and why we do that work.
Worship Education for K-5th Grade
A significant part of our Worship Education for children in 1st-5th Grade is time spent in worship. The best way for children to learn about worship is to participate in it and to see adults that are important to them participate in worship. Worshiping with the congregation also gives children a sense of belonging that they would otherwise miss. Our Worship Education programs are described below.
One Sunday each month of the school year, children in Kindergarten-2nd Grade participate in Godly Play during the Worship Hour. This Montessori-based curriculum helps children begin to develop a vocabulary for expressing their experience of God. Children gather, hear a story, wonder about it together, and then respond to God’s presence through their chosen work.
On the third Sunday of each month of the school year, children in 1st-3rd Grade participate in Worship 101 during the Formation and Worship Hours. During the Formation Hour, they will learn about what worship is, why we worship, how we worship at St. John’s, and how they can participate in worship. During the Worship Hour, the children will sit with their adult leaders as they focus on putting what they have been learning into practice.
Each Sunday, Worship Bags are available in the Sanctuary. The bags are filled with activities to help children focus on worship that day. Bags are returned to the baskets at the end of worship and are restocked each week.
Building relationships is important to faith formation. The main way we do that is by enjoying time together. Our regularly scheduled activities, like our Formation Classes, Children’s Music Groups, and intergenerational fellowship events, provide great opportunities to be together. We also have special opportunities for fellowship with other members of the church family and with people from the larger community through Vacation Bible School, CROP Walk, and our trip to camp each year.
Children are actively involved in learning about missions and doing missions. We learn about and practice our servant faith! We join the church family in sharing God’s love each year as part of CROP Walk and the Charlotte Pride Parade. We learn about having compassion in our Formation Classes. In our Missions 101 class we help our children understand what missions is and why we choose to do God’s work in the world. Members from the Missions Resource Team come each month to share information about the ways St. John’s is involved in doing God’s work and why they feel called to be part of that work. Missions 101 will happen during the Formation Hour for 1st-5th Graders on second Sundays from September-May.
Children don’t just attend worship at St. John’s—they are worship leaders! Children are often invited to read scripture or lead a responsive reading. The Children’s Choirs of St. John’s regularly lead worship through music.
We have two children’s music groups. One for 1st-5th Graders is led by Sandy Holland. They during the Formation Hour on Sunday mornings. This choir does work with instruments and chimes, and they lead in worship 3-4 times each year. Our youngest music group for children aged 3-Kindergarten is led by volunteers who make singing fun for this age group. They meet on Sunday mornings during the Formation Hour.
Each summer, we partner with St. Martin’s Episcopal Church for Vacation Bible School. We write our own arts-based VBS each summer which allows us to explore God’s story in meaningful and fun ways. Older elementary children join an Art Guild where they work on a big project to share at the end of the week. Younger children become our Young Artists where they get to try a little bit of everything as they explore the stories in ways that are meaningful and fun for them.