At KidStuf, kids bring their parents to church --
and family worship will never be the same
A place where kids bring their parents to church -- could such a
place really exist and succeed? North Point Community Church in
Alpharetta, Georgia, has taken what many said was impossible and
made it a reality.
North Point began in 1995 with a vision cast by Senior Pastor Andy
Stanley to create a safe environment where unchurched people could
come to hear the life-changing truth of Jesus Christ. Today, North
Point has over 10,000 adults participating on Sunday mornings and
over 3,000 kids and middle school students involved in Sunday
morning small groups.
I recently visited North Point to check out their children's
ministry. It's a unique place. For example, as I walked toward the
church, I was caught off guard by the special parking (an entire
lot) reserved for families with babies and toddlers.
Wow, they're pretty family-friendly, I thought.
I was about to find out that I was just scratching the surface.
This church has a brand new way of doing children's ministry -- and
it's called KidStuf.
THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM
In 1996, Family Ministry Director Reggie Joiner discussed a new
way of doing children's ministry with the North Point Community
Church staff -- a style of ministry that values parents and kids
coming together for a shared worship experience. It wasn't a new
concept, but North Point's philosophy was that this experience
would take place in an environment where kids would bring their
parents into a kid's world to learn instead of the other way
"A number of children's ministry 'experts' told us it wouldn't
work. They insisted it was too wide of an age spread," says Reggie.
"We chose to take our cue from Disney instead."
Disney has mastered multi-age audiences and has made billions of
dollars creating theme parks and movies that are appealing to the
KidStuf launched in a school cafeteria in 1996 with a curtain for
a backdrop and an average attendance of less than 100 children and
their parents. Today KidStuf has its own theater, runs two morning
sessions, uses nearly 200 volunteers to run the program, and
averages over 1,200 attendees (kids and parents) each Sunday.
Although the program has evolved over the years, the principles
that formed the program have stayed consistent:
• Parents need to have shared experiences with their kids.
• Kids need to have a relevant place to go and be in.
• Even without all the production elements, it's better to do
something like Kidstuf than do nothing at all.
KidStuf has accomplished what the children's ministry experts said
couldn't be done.
So what does the KidStuf program look like? Is it an atmosphere
where parents are eager to come to church and learn with their
kids? Walk with me through the double doors that display the
trademark of the family-friendly environment of KidStuf.