This month we said farewell to our Children’s Pastor, Bo Kleman. A job opportunity arose in South Carolina for her husband and they discerned it to be the best fit for their family. We will miss them all!
Bo served as our Children’s Pastor for the past 18 months. When the search committee offered her the position, we knew that her husband's career would likely lead them away from Terre Haute eventually, and that it could happen sooner rather than later. But we also believed that the passion, tallents, and skills that Bo brought made even a short tenure highly beneficial for our church. And having experienced her time as both a fellow staff member and a parent, I can say with confidence that the search committee was absolutely right.
In the transition, I’ve been reflecting on some of the unplanned moments that often happen during the Children’s Story. We’ve had kids try to play the drums, climb into our laps, jump off stage, tell us about their weekend plans, roll their eyes, and, sometimes, show us what it looks like to see Jesus through their eyes.
But I’ve also been reflecting on the things that happen off stage. I think there’s a danger for us to evaluate our Children’s pastors based on the few minutes we see them on Sunday morning rather than the hours they spend with kids and families throughout the week. I think there’s also a danger for us to evaluate our Children’s pastors based on the work we see them doing rather than the team of volunteers they equip and lead.
So I’d like to reflect on some of the things that have happened behind the scenes in the past couple years. Here are some of the changes:
- Curriculum: We’ve implemented a standardized Sunday curriculum for preschool and grade school. Over the course of three years, kids will experience selections from scripture spanning from Genesis to Revelation. The games and videos they experience together coordinate with the activities and questions they discuss in small groups.
- Mission Kids: We’ve reworked our Wednesday night program to focus on local and global missions. These groups give preschoolers and grade schoolers the opportunity to experience the gospel spreading around the world.
- Volunteer Recruitment: There are so many new faces serving in Children’s ministry! We’ve seen volunteers transform from hesitant to fearless. Our volunteers continue to be a tremendous support for both our kids and our kids' families.
- Room Remodels: All our grade school spaces were remodeled, updating carpeting, wall colors, furniture, and art. We added a small stage and transformed our largest space into a multipurpose room. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the trustees, the facility team, and private donors.
- Volunteer Training & Appreciation: We added a volunteer event where we express our gratitude to those who serve willingly and faithfully. It also provided training materials to better equip our volunteers to serve.
The common thread you’ll find throughout all these things was Bo’s leadership. We can’t thank her enough for the vision she brought to the ministry and the energy she infused to carry it all out. Every one of these changes will continue forward into the future and benefit families for years to come.
I’d also like to express my appreciation to Jill Kirchoff, who served as our previous Children’s Minister. In many ways, she set the stage for these improvements and put us on the path that has led us to where we are today.
All that said, we are in a transition. So what comes next?
The immediate plan is to hire an Interim Children’s Pastor. That person will continue to run programs and support volunteers. We anticipate having the interim position filled in early October.
In addition, the interim position will give us the space to review the Children’s Ministry and tailor the position to the current needs of the ministry. Then we will form a search committee and work through the hiring process as outlined in our Constitution and Bylaws.
Finally, there are a few ways you can help us during the transition.
First, pray. Pray for a healthy transition for Bo and her family. Pray for energy and wisdom for the Interim Children’s Pastor. Pray for the
- Children’s Ministry volunteers who are filling gaps and adjusting to change. And pray for the process of hiring the next Children’s Pastor.
- Second, encourage others. Encourage kids. Encourage volunteers. Encourage parents. And encourage people to encourage others.
- Third, volunteer. We need faithful and capable people who are willing to invest in the faith of the next generation, especially those willing to sub in during the transition.