Always Truth, Always Love
I see this ministry as one of the most important things of the church; the Sunday Study program helps build our church, our future church because these kids are our future. — Carey Craigo
About five years ago, Carey and Alan Craigo walked in through the front doors of Orangewood looking for a new church home. Carey was a former elementary school teacher and Alan had previously worked as a church youth director. Together they shared a passion for the spiritual formation of young minds, so they quickly became regular volunteers with our Children’s Ministry.
For the past few weeks, during the Sunday Study hour, Carey and Alan have been teaching our elementary schoolers at OKids Xtra. This dedicated time was developed so that children could have a place to learn while their parents were involved in Sunday morning programs, including Sunday Studies. In the past, OKids Xtra has covered topics including worship, the reason for church, and the sacraments and has been taught by other Orangewood members including Linda Green and Denise Habicht.
When preparing for this round of OKids Xtra, the Craigos met with our Children’s Ministry leaders and were given two topics to choose from. Carey and Alan chose to use the Kids’ Quest Catechism Club, which is a a curriculum designed to teach children on the Catechism. A catechism is a manual of biblical truths arranged in the form of questions and answers used to instruct younger minds and people who are newer to the teachings of Jesus. “The Catechism gives us the opportunity to give basic truths, and when you’re teaching young children, you are working with the most innocent of people. You’ve gotta do it in love because as soon as you start…if it becomes a lecture, they see through it quite quickly. You have to be genuine with them”(Alan).
At the heart of one Orangewood’s values is striving to share the truth about God’s Word with gentleness and respect. “Sharing the truth with our children, telling the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord (Psalm 78:4-7), that’s the heart behind everything we do. Jesus. And to teach children, you have to do it in a loving way”, said Ashley Evelend, Director of Children’s Ministry, as she spoke about her passion for serving in Children’s Ministry.
Teaching young minds in a loving way has required the Craigos to find ways to explain hard-to-understand truths in a way that is easy for a child to learn. “You lean back on some of those simple illustrations. Like, when you’re talking about something like the trinity, water can exist in three forms, but is the same substance”(Alan).
Though it can be hard to translate complex truths to children, the Craigos shared that the work is necessary and absolutely rewarding, “I see this ministry as one of the most important things of the church; the Sunday Study program helps build our church, our future church because these kids are our future”(Carey).
The work that the Craigos are doing can’t help but bring to mind the work of the gospel. Jesus made himself gentle and lowly in the form of a human, full of weakness and vulnerability. But it was in this form that God’s Word was embodied, revealed, and freely given so that all can receive. When we work to communicate the truth in loving ways, we become imitators of Jesus.
We’re so thankful for reminders of Jesus in the ways that the Craigos have embodied sharing God’s Word in gentleness and respect.