A Time for Children
Our children are in crisis. The statistics are staggering: 1 in 3 in the U.S. live in poverty; over 900,000 cases of neglect and abuse are reported each year; bullying is reported by one-half of all children which increases their risk for dropping out of school; 50% of traditional marriages end in divorce; internet danger; and the list goes on.
God’s children need a meaningful relationship with God.
TMF awarded a grant, funded through the Leslie Endowment for Christian Evangelism, to Dr. Leanne Hadley, an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, to partially fund a three-year pilot project called A Time for Children. A leading expert in the area of holistic ministry to children, Hadley teaches, mentors and coaches congregations as they develop and implement ministries to children.
Twenty-one churches in the Central Texas Conference have committed to participate in this initiative. The congregations will meet monthly in web-based small groups to receive coaching, mentoring and accountability as they move through the process. Each congregation will also meet monthly in a private conversation with Hadley for more customized coaching. During the first year, existing ministries will be evaluated and strengthened, while exploring additional needs of the children in the church and surrounding communities.
Dr. Hadley’s program is both scalable and replicable. As discussed in the video above with Rev. Ben Disney and Rev. John Woodward, A Time for Children can be implemented regardless of the size of a church or a community. Of the 21 churches participating in the pilot, four are among the ten largest in the Conference, while others are smaller congregations.
The costs associated with the program are estimated to be nominal as volunteers will be fully equipped to teach, develop personal relationships, pray intentionally, mentor children and families, and shape future ministries based on identified needs. The outcomes and effectiveness of the program will be monitored and assessed throughout the three-year period. This information will be invaluable as we learn to create vital ministry with children that reaches beyond the current demographics of our churches.
TMF believes this pilot project is the beginning of a larger movement to bring children to Christ and heed His call to “Let the children come to me.” (Mark 10:14) We are privileged to be financial and spiritual partners with Dr. Hadley and The Central Texas Conference. Together we can steward potential by learning how the church can best meet the needs of today’s children and families.