If you and your family are planning to join us on a Sunday evening, here's what you can expect:
The children and adults worship together until just before the sermon. We sing together, listen to readings from the Bible together, and pray together. Then the adults stay put for Biblical preaching, while the children go to classrooms designated for age-appropriate children's ministry.
We value expository preaching, which means that we try to make sure that our preaching is shaped by the Bible rather than bending and distorting the Bible to fit with our preconceived ideas. Our sermons are typically 45 minutes long, give or take.
At The Gathering, it is our belief that all the ministries of our church should be working together towards the same end. How we gather children around the gospel for God's glory and their joy will look different from how we do this with adults, but it is crucial that we communicate to the children that Jesus is at the centre of God's great story of salvation, and at the centre of their story too!
Paul reminds Timothy that he had the privilege of knowing the Holy Scriptures “from infancy” (2Timothy 3:14-15). We want to provide the children at The Gathering with the same opportunity and to encourage them to love and know Jesus in a personal, real way from a young age.
We currently have children's ministry for two age groups:
Nursery (ages 2 and under)
The babies/toddlers in this classroom are supervised by a minimum of two volunteers with valid police checks who engage the little ones with toys, puzzles and other age-appropriate activities. We have a check-in and check-out process, and parents are asked to provide a contact number (i.e. cell phone) so they can be contacted via text during the sermon should their child start crying inconsolably, or need a diaper change (volunteers do not change diapers). Only approved people are allowed to enter the nursery (i.e. parents of the children and the pre-approved volunteers scheduled for that particular week).
Wherever possible, we seek to integrate Biblical truth into the babies' activities (for example: “Do you see the elephant in the puzzle? God made elephants. What else did God make? God made everything!”). We also have a CD player that is used to play worship music designed for babies and young children, along with a collection of musical instruments for your baby/ toddler to play along!
Older children (ages 3 and up):
This age group uses the Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum, which contains lessons from both the Old and New Testaments. Your children will participate in activities and games that help them to understand the story and they will be encouraged to ask the question each week: “What did we discover about Jesus from today's story?” Each lesson ends with prayer and children receive a take-home sheet with their memory verse so that parents can see what was covered