Engaging our Children in the PCA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
Although I’ve been a part of the PCA for over 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to learn a great deal of history as I’ve entered into the role of Children’s Ministry Coordinator during the time the PCA is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary. I’m so thankful that the prayer subcommittee (Sue Pitzer, Susan Hunt, and Laura Dowling) wanted to include the prayers of the children in their efforts to gather our denomination in prayer next year. We tried to intentionally prepare the anniversary prayer calendar in a way that children and families could understand a little bit about our history and what each of our Committees and Agencies do.
I’ve learned many fun facts from the websites of our Committees and Agencies. Did you know that Covenant College had moved from Pasadena, California to St. Louis, Missouri all before making its way to its current location on Lookout Mountain, Georgia? Isn’t it fun to know that thirteen seminary professors from Covenant Theological Seminary took part in writing the ESV Study Bible notes? In what year was the relief fund (now through Geneva) established at General Assembly to care for the needs of ministry workers and widows of pastors? In 1973, the first year of the PCA. I love knowing that the founding fathers had the forethought to plan ahead in this way. I enjoyed learning that Texas is the state with the most RUF ministries.
My mother loves to scrapbook. I’m so thankful because this has helped me to know so many of our family’s stories. I know about the many men and women of my family who loved the Lord. I love hearing their stories of God’s faithfulness to them and the ways He provided for them. I’ve seen the newspaper article which tells how my great-grandparents managed to send all seven of their children to college during a time when that was unheard of. These family stories have shaped me.
Similarly, the children of our churches have been shaped by the stories of the PCA. They have benefitted from books bought from the PCA bookstore through CDM. They have been taught from curriculum from Great Commission Publications, which has been a joint venture with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church officially entered into during the Third General Assembly. Many of our children have benefitted from RUF songs and have gotten to meet MTW missionaries. Ridge Haven has been a beautiful place for children to gather and learn more about Jesus. (Did you know they wash over 200,000 dishes a year?) MNA has planned short-term missions trips that some of our children have been a part of, and the PCA Foundation has helped fund projects that have benefitted our children. Our denomination has been a part of the discipleship of our children!
The Administrative Committee has a website that will be updated throughout 2023 to share even more stories and fun facts: PCA50th. You’ll get to hear Frank Barker, III, tell about his childhood memories hearing the men sing in worship during General Assembly: “The church’s organist said that the singing was so loud, it drowned out the organ and he couldn’t get it loud enough.” You can read from children sharing their love for Ridge Haven and learn the name of one of MTW’s original missionaries who is still serving on the field. Each month will have updated stories and information to share.
Please help your children engage in hearing these stories. Also, share the prayer requests with your children—both at home and in the church setting. There are weekly prayer requests on the calendar, but there is a more child-friendly prayer request shared with the instructions for a monthly activity on the website. The monthly activity will also point everyone to the Bible verse for each month. We can help our children think through why the coordinators and presidents chose those verses for each month. The prayers of children are powerful, and since they are the next 50 years of the PCA, I’m so thankful that they can be included.
So, whether you have been a part of the PCA for 50 years, or if you are like me and feel relatively new, let’s help our children see God’s faithfulness in the stories of our denomination and help them see the sure footing of trusting Him with our future! If you are interested in buying a hard copy of the calendar, you can purchase at the PCA bookstore.
Katie Flores is Children’s Ministry Coordinator for the PCA’s Committee on Discipleship Ministries. Katie oversees the effort of CDM to connect and equip those who serve in discipleship ministry to children. She develops and reviews resources to help those who work with children and youth and conducts training for church leaders, staff, and volunteers.