Multiplication Center

Valuing Kids at Church

March 10, 2008

Scottwarrensnowplow_5  Scott Thumma and I just concluded a 5-day trip to Lakeville, MN (suburban Minneapolis/St. Paul area) where winter is still going strong. We were at a wonderful Lutheran church named Hosanna! (Yes, they include an exclamation mark everywhere except their Internet address.) 

This is a church that puts teeth into its value that children and youth matter. Our first stop on Sunday was HALO, the Sunday school equivalent for age 4 through grade 5. For the worship portion, kids played a dominant role from making up the entire band, except for the leader, to running the PowerPoint of words and images.

Hosannakids5_2           Kidtech2 

Then in the adult worship celebration, I was touched that one of the service teams was made up of junior high girls from their recent confirmation class. They handed me a bulletin with a smile, they helped pass the offering plates, and they helped with the attendance count — using the adding machine function on a cell phone to tally each row!

Banner  There is a buzz in the community that this church has a great program for children and youth, and the numbers affirm it. There were about 3,800 adults in the Saturday evening (5:00 p.m.) and Sunday morning (8:45 and 11:00 a.m.), plus an additional 1,200 children and youth in simultaneous programs. Thus infants through high schoolers made up 24% of that day’s attendance. In addition, the Wednesday evening program draws more than 2,000 children and teens to their campus.

Hosanna was stop #3 in our 12-church study of large churches. For posts on our first two stops, in Portland, OR, and Austin, TX, see: http://learnings.leadnet.org/2008/01/living-hope—.html and http://learnings.leadnet.org/2008/02/finding-new-rea.html. Our next stop this weekend is Boston’s Park Street Church. Any ideas of what we might learn there?

Warren Bird, Ph.D., is Research Director at Leadership Network, and co-author of 19 books on various aspects of church health and innovation.

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