by Heather Shiflett, SPLASH Kids Director
Small beginnings. At this writing there’s a “small beginning” sleeping on my lap... a precious and precocious little 3-year-old ready in his waking hours to take the world by storm. One of the wonderful privileges of parenting a 3-year-old alongside a 17-year-old is perspective. Perspective that brings comfort and hope on difficult days, reminding me that he’ll grow up all too quickly. Perspective that brings wisdom, reminding me not to waste this time with him. Perspective that knows the truth observed by William Bradford, a small candle has the potential to light a thousand. Perspective that whispers “start with the end in mind.”
God has used that phrase, “start with the end in mind,” not only in my parenting, but also as I’ve contemplated how to begin leading SPLASH and asking where He wants to take our children.
To start with the end in mind, one must ask, “What is the end goal?” What does the Lord want to accomplish with our children and youth? What does He want the hallmarks of Lake Baldwin Church children to be? When one of our sons or daughters leaves home for college, for what will they be known?
We say at Lake Baldwin Church that we want to be characterized by hearts that beat for the good news of the gospel to transform the lost, the found, the city, and the world. If that’s where we’re headed as a church, why not start there? Why not begin providing opportunities for our littlest hearts to engage with the transforming power of the gospel for the lost, found, city and world?
After five months of prayer, I believe God is leading SPLASH to align with these four aspects of our vision statement. Throughout 2018, we will introduce four serving events: Serving Our Neighbor, Serving the Found, Serving the City and Serving the World.
Serving Our Neighbor
In the fall we intend to host a bridge-building event open to the community called a Science Lyceum where families can explore and observe the world of BUBBLES! Did you know you can observe the color a bubble turns right before it pops? Bubbles not only delight children, but present an opportunity to engage families who might not be ready to explore a church setting.
“Let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” —Matthew 5:16
Serving the Found
In May we will host our first transitional class for kids graduating from SPLASH Kids and moving into the Youth Group and Worship Service called ANCHOR. Over a Friday evening and Saturday morning, we will celebrate the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new. Incoming 6th graders will be introduced to our Youth Director, Mark McKinney, and learn in a developmentally appropriate manner some of the special components experienced in a Worship Service, like the sacraments.
“We have this hope as an anchor for our lives.” —Hebrews 6:19
Serving the City
Building on our Secret Agent theme from last year, SPLASH Kids will continue investing in our host school by packing backpacks of school supplies this July for the 50-70 homeless families whose children attend Glenridge Middle School. It is our hope through this project to begin instilling an "outward face" in LBC children.
“But when you give to those in need, give in complete secrecy.” —Matthew 6:3,4
Serving the World
On New Year's Eve we began introducing SPLASH Kids to LBC-supported missionaries! During the initial introductory phase we are learning about four families: the Jean-Rejouis family in France, the Bolings in Mexico, the Meyers in England and the K family in East Asia. After introductions have been made we will begin FaceTime/Skype interviews during SPLASH to increase familiarity with these families and their work. Later, we will culminate our year with Serving the World, a service day that will directly support our missionary families and their work overseas. Our hope is to build familiarity with global missions in a way that makes going on a trip as a teenager/adult a completely natural next step for LBC children.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles.” —Romans 1:16
If you’ve read this far, I hope you are excited about the plans God has in store for SPLASH. I know I am! 1 Samuel 12:16 says, “Now then, stand still, and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes.” Next Sunday look into the eyes of a child and ask yourself, “Is he/she the ‘small candle that will light a thousand?’” Let’s kindle those little flames together. They are after all our future.
Ready to get involved? Learn more about serving in SPLASH Kids!