Parents love to celebrate when their toddler takes their first step! And in the same way, every Christian you meet has had a “first step” in their spiritual journey. You don’t have to be around Willow Creek for very long before you realize how committed we are to the spiritual development of our kids. One way that Willow partners with parents in their children’s spiritual growth is through Promiseland (Infants to Grade 5th), Elevate (Junior High), Student Impact (High School), and the Young Adults ministry.
Scott Rubin, Director of Elevate, says, “Here at Willow, we want to partner with parents every step of the way. If your son or daughter is in Promiseland, Elevate, or Impact, we want to work with you to help your child understand God’s transforming love!” One easy next step is to get your children to church every weekend. “It makes a remarkable difference if a kid is developing friendships in their small groups, which happens so much faster when they can come consistently,” says Rubin. “It helps kids and students to see a bigger picture of faith and to understand how it affects their life day in and day out.”
Another great first step for parents of young children is our Child Dedication Ceremony. This is an event that happens several times a year, and the next Child Dedication is coming up November 22nd and 23rd in Willow Creek’s Chapel.
Willow’s Child Dedication Ceremony is an interactive experience, where supporting family members and many first-time visitors to Willow gather around the child as parents pray a personalized prayer aloud for their child. Pat Cimo, Director of Willow Creek’s Family Life, enthusiastically says, “The God I wish you knew is more crazy in love with your kids than you are.” At these ceremonies, the parents have an opportunity to express their faith to their family members, friends, co-workers, etc. who might not otherwise step foot in a church. Pat says the child-dedication ceremony has now become “an opportunity for parents to witness in a very unique way because they are talking about their heart and their children.” She exclaims, “It’s the day for the parents to declare, ‘I trust the fact that God has a plan and a purpose for my child, and I will do all I can to follow Him, to reflect a Christ-like example.’”
However, this declaration is not a promise of parenting-perfection. Pat says, “When they choose to have their child dedicated, they are making the statement, ‘I’m not a perfect parent, but I want to do the best that I possibly can to create the best foundation for my kids so that they can understand and have a relationship with Jesus Christ, as their forever friend.’”
That partnership between the parents and the church is the beginning of a lifestyle. Whether your children are 6 days old or 16 years old, we want to help kids develop a faith that lasts!
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children.”
To register for the upcoming child-dedications, click here.