by Will Peycke
Random fact about the elder blog: while all six of Kossuth’s elders contribute regularly, I am the one tasked with scheduling who writes on which weeks.
Some time ago, I scheduled myself to write this week. My self-assigned topic? Our youth and children’s ministry plans for the upcoming school year. But here we are in the first week of August… and I don’t have much to report!
Yes, some plans are starting to come together. I’m very grateful for the team leaders who are tackling these challenges with me. But we still have more questions than answers. For example:
- Nursery and preschool classes have been meeting for several weeks now, and we are planning to restart connection hour classes on August 30. But do we have enough workers? Will we need one preschool class or two? How many families are ready to come back? How many will stay home because of concerns about COVID-19… or because it is easier to watch online than to come back to this strange “new normal” of masks and social distancing? (Parents, if you are planning to have your kids in connection hour classes this fall, please help us by signing up here.)
- We have put a number of precautions in place, like asking wellness questions at check-in, requiring masks for volunteers, and changing seating arrangements and/or classrooms. We are endeavoring to enable social distancing wherever possible so kids won’t have to wear masks the whole time. But we don’t know: are these precautions adequate… or overkill?
- We are working on a modified Midweek schedule for 3rd grade through high school. But planning feels like a roller coaster: excited about the potential one minute, then discouraged by the challenges and obstacles the next. How do we help students to connect spiritually while staying distant socially?
- We have decided not to restart Midweek for the younger age groups this fall. I think that’s the right call for this season, especially given the number of volunteers who need to take a break right now. But I’m also sad, because I know we have a lot of kids (including one of mine) who were really looking forward to being in Puggles, Cubbies, or Sparks this year. Is there something more we can do to lessen their disappointment?
- On top of all that, of course, is the nagging question of whether we will restart these ministries only to get hit with another round of lockdown measures this fall or winter. Are we planning in vain?
As you can see, this is turning into a post about questions instead of one about answers! I hesitated to be so candid about all these uncertainties, but I decided to invite you into my questions for two reasons.
The first reason is to ask you to pray for our children’s ministry leaders and workers as we wrestle with all these questions. We want to engage children in the gospel story and to effectively support and partner with parents, but it is hard to know how best to do that right now.
The second reason is to remind you that it’s OK to have more questions than answers. Last Sunday, as Abraham preached from Mark 13:32-33, I wrote down this good exhortation: “Run your race, and let God worry about the finish line.” My tendency is to want my questions answered before I leave the starting blocks. But living by faith often means moving forward without knowing how things will turn out.
This summer, I’ve been reading The Chronicles of Narnia series to my older kids at bedtime. We just finished the book The Silver Chair. In a climactic scene, the main characters—Jill Pole, Eustace Scrubb, and Puddleglum—are faced with an agonizing decision. They had been given four “signs” by Aslan (who represents Jesus) to help them complete their task of finding a lost prince. They have just encountered the fourth and final sign—but obeying it means believing (and untying) someone who appears to be an enemy.
“Oh, if only we knew!” said Jill.
“I think we do know,” said Puddleglum.
“Do you mean you think everything will come right if we untie him?” said Scrubb.
“I don’t know about that,” said Puddleglum. “You see, Aslan didn’t tell Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do.”
Like me, you may have more questions than answers right now. But that’s alright. We don’t know what will happen. But we do know what to do: continue to gather, grow, and scatter as a community of disciple-makers toward the great commission. So let’s keep running our race, and let God worry about the finish line—and whatever questions and obstacles we may face along the way.