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:—.html and 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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