Children and Youth

A little child shall lead them…
Our little child will lead themchildren and youth are very important to our congregation. They participate in the life of the church through our educational program, youth fellowship, worship, bell choir, service projects, and mission trips.

The phrase “a little child shall lead them” reflects the prominent place our children have in our understanding of who we are as a congregation.  A full third of our adult membership volunteers to teach sessions of Sunday School, and our music program strives to be intergenerational.  Children participate in the first part of the service and then leave for Sunday School following the Children’s Time.

Board of Christian Education’s Mission and Goals

In accord with the Union University Church’s Affirmation of Faith, the mission of the Board of Christian Education is to bestow on our children the value of the scriptural witness, the example of the teachings of Jesus, the importance of the church community and the multi-denominational experience, and our call to be loving servants of a loving God. To this end, we have constructed a Sunday School program which teaches our children:

• To love
• To be tolerant (understanding, accepting, ecumenical)
• To serve
• To have a sense of call

In order to be responsive to a child’s developmental and faith stages, we will encourage our teachers to tailor their teaching to the following emphases:

Primary: Teaching Love and Tolerance

1. Provide a beginning in theological understanding

a. God is love
b. God has created a wonderful world
c. Jesus is God’s son (the person of Jesus)
d. Jesus is our friend

2. Help them to love themselves
3. Teach them to love each other
4. Begin to identify adults in the congregation, and give them a sense of belonging to the community of the church

Goal: Help them to feel that Sunday School is a fun place to be and that they are loveable people.

Middler:  Teaching Love, Tolerance, Service

1. Providing a theological understanding of

a. What it means to be a Christian
b. moral foundation of Christianity
c. Jesus as teacher (the teachings of Jesus)

2. Help them to see how Christian teachings are carried into daily life.
Goal: Help them to internalize Jesus’ teaching and to begin to establish a sense of their place as Christians in the world.
Junior Youth:  Teaching Love, Tolerance, Service, Call
1. Help them to feel good about themselves, discover their personal strengths and gifts
2. Learn how to use their gifts to serve others.
3. Help them to confront and cope with the conflict between Christian values and world values
4. Help them from a Christian perspective to understand and cope with differences between people, for ex.

a. Racial differences
b. People of differing mental and physical abilities
c. Peer pressure
d. Differences in sexual orientation

5. Teach them to take responsibilities for their choices and begin to make life choices about who they want to be as people (moral, spiritual)

Goal: Help them to affirm their gifts and begin to see their value for and call to God’s service

Senior Youth: Toward a Maturity in Faith

1. Expose youth to basic Christian doctrines and examine various belief systems
2. Acquaint youth with a variety of worship experiences
3. Grapple with questions of faith and world issues as related to faith
4. Provide them with tools to seek guidance through scripture, experience, prayer, church
5. Move them toward a deeper personal relationship with God

Goal: Challenge them to ask hard questions about themselves, the world, and God, and to continue to seek guidance in faith. Keep them involved in church!