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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Student involvement enhances Memorial Road children’s ministry

Friday, September 14, 2007  
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By Guest Writer

Carly Darrow

Memorial Road church of Christ moved college Bible class in order to increase participation and ministry training. Campus minister Jeff McMillon said the attendance of college students is up quite a bit now that college class has been moved from Sunday morning to 5:00 Sunday evening.

The college class recently moved to help provide students more opportunities and to increase class numbers. Memorial Road saw the time change as a way to better address college students’ spiritual needs. Better focus and energy at night leads to more participation and understanding during lessons.

“People are more awake on Sunday night,” McMillon said. “You’re in the zone when you’re in class.”

The number of students interested in helping teach classes also increased due to the time change. Judy Branch, children’s ministry director, said getting students away from their friends to help proved to be difficult before the change.

Now it’s possible to worship with friends and still serve other classes in the morning. The children’s department, known as Journey Land, recruited new helpers as soon as the change occurred and the results have been phenomenal.

“This is the most college students we’ve ever had involved,” Branch said.

The students provide role models for the 280 first through fifth grade children at Memorial Road. Children get two different learning forms now: one from an adult and the other from students to whom they may better relate. Church staff said children love having the college students in class.

“It makes the church experience a cool experience for kids,” Branch said. “It adds a new element.”

The church leaders believe the children receive an admirable role model and the college students gain hands-on experience and training. Those wanting to get involved in ministry now get that opportunity. Memorial Road offers the training-ground students going into ministry need and a chance to be part of something different.

“I would hope our college students would fall in love with ministry and make a huge difference in the lives of the children in the congregations they attend in the future,” Branch said.

This opportunity to serve through ministry caught the attention of students so quickly there is now a waiting list. In Journey Land, thirteen college students dedicate their Sunday mornings to guiding the younger children.

“We don’t ever have to worry,” McMillon said. “Now we have people waiting to serve.

Amanda Edwards, biochemistry major at Oklahoma Christian University, serves the children’s department Sunday mornings by working in the first through second grade game room at Memorial Road. Now she does not have to worry about missing the college class, and she is free to teach on Sunday mornings.

“I definitely would [recommend this teaching opportunity to other students]. These kids are a lot of fun, and they really look up to us. I really think that it helps them to know that we care and makes them feel special. Plus it’s great to know that we are doing something to help them know God better,” Edwards said.

Along with many other students, Edwards teaches many core lessons to young children. These student teachers care very much about the children they are guiding.

“I hope that the stories we teach them will be something that when they get older they can base their faith on and start developing their own love for God in seeing how awesome he really is,” Edwards said.

The college class is comprised of 450 members. Those who do not serve the children on Sunday morning attend a young professionals’ class and provide assistance to other various church departments.

“It has left a lot of options open for students to do what works for them,” McMillon said.

Although the college class offers communion Sunday nights in class, McMillon expects students to be in attendance Sunday morning.

“We wanted to address college spiritual needs better. It’s a win for the students and a win for the church,” McMillon said.

So far, the change remains positive with many benefits stemming from it.

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