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Family Ministries Pastor Travis Cross - Praise the Lord for Children!

We are having a wonderful fall in Family Ministries! Many children, many volunteers, and many activities help share the love of Jesus! If you are not involved in some way in Family Ministries, you are missing a true blessing!

Sunday morning Superstars and Preschool classes are a blast! I have enjoyed serving at the Preschool desk during the first worship hour. In the past many times I would visit a new baby in the hospital when they were born but then not see them again for quite a while because I was not in Preschool as much as the Children's area. Now I get to see the babies when they first start coming to church and I get to watch them grow up! It has been a nice change and a new chance to form a relationship with the children earlier than before.

And I am so thankful to have so many new babies in our ministry! We have had 5 babies born recently and have at least 4 more coming by the end of the year (unless you know something I don't know! Ha ha!). Praise the Lord for new life and for these children!

Our Incredible Volunteers

Our Superstars teachers amaze me. Their commitment to be here and to teach the Word of God to the children week after week is incredible. I love to be downstairs and see the children come in and their faces light up when they see their teachers. These men and women are my heroes!

AWANA leaders are right up there with Superstars leaders! They are committed to be here each week, to guide the children as they hide God's Word in their hearts, and even to play some games on the AWANA circle! :) The kids LOVE AWANA! They are more than happy to show me (and anyone else who will stop and look) their awards/patches/jewels that they have earned as I see them in the hall or in their groups. I am so thankful to the parents who bring the kids faithfully each week!

Good News Club

Good News Club is off to a wonderful start this year! We have about 150 children registered and have already had 6 children who have accepted Christ as Savior! Praise the Lord! We had one young man who told his Grade Shepherd that he did not have a Bible. We had a Bible that we were able to give to him and from what I hear he was THRILLED! He was so happy to have his very own Bible.

Each week we take prayer requests from the children. Greg Gratz compiles them and sends them to me, then I forward them out and put them on the Wednesday night prayer sheet. We tell the children that our church loves to pray for them and their requests, no matter what that request might be. The requests might make you smile (pray for my dog because he hurt his foot) or they might make you cry (pray that my dad can come back to live with us because he is in jail). Either way, smile or cry, these requests are important to the children and weighing on their hearts, so I am committed to praying for them and I hope you are, too!

I can't let the part about Good News Club go by without praising the Lord for those volunteers also! We have a great group of volunteers who are faithful to come each week and share the love of Jesus with Lake Forest! We have all ages of volunteers, but many are our Senior Adults who come even when they don't feel well. They love on those boys and girls and are such a positive influence on them. The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE their leaders, and many times I see them go back to leaders they had the previous year to hug them or say hi to them. If you want to be involved in a ministry with a HUGE impact, please talk to me about serving in GNC!

Weekday Ministry

I have written before about our Weekday Ministry and how thankful I am to be involved in it. Cindy Haithcock and the Weekday Staff do an incredible job teaching and ministering to over 100 children each week along with their families (parents, siblings, grandparents, care takers, etc.). The children are such a blessing! I love getting to do Chapel with them each week, and since my office is on the Preschool Hall I get to see them in the hallways. I get called "Pastor Travis", "Mister Travis", "Pastor Chapel", "Mister Pastor Chapel", and many others I can't even think of right now, but they all make me smile! Our teachers and assistants do a phenomenal job and are a joy to know and serve with.

So there is an update on how fall is going with Family Ministries. We are looking forward to the holiday season coming up (hard to believe, isn't it?). We will be busy with events and activities in November and December.

Upcoming Events

First Steps Class: Wednesday, November 8
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. - Fellowship Hall
First Steps is for any children who have recently accepted Christ as Savior or who are asking questions about salvation. At least one parent is required to attend with each child. Please make reservations for you and your child no later than Sunday, November 5 by contacting Ginger Hall at 244-2975, ext. 111 or by email.

Family Dedication Service: Sunday, November 12
8:45 a.m. First Service - Sanctuary
It is always such a joy to see young families committed to the Lord and willing to stand in front of family, friends, and our church family to dedicate their child to the Lord. I am so excited to see how the Lord will use those children in the future!

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes Drop-Off: November 12 - 20
Fellowship Hall
We will collect shoeboxes from the community November 12 - 20. Thank you to all of you who will be packing/bringing shoeboxes this year! We will pray over them with the children on Sunday, November 19.

Weekday Grandparents Day: November 16 and 17
This is a wonderful time to get to challenge the grandparents to pour into their grandchildren and to leave a legacy of loving and serving the Lord. I speak to them during the Chapel time, and at one point I have the grandparents pray over their grandchildren. What a blessing to watch/hear those prayers!

Then of course it is Christmas time! What a wonderful time of the year to celebrate the birth of our Savior! We will have Christmas parties in AWANA and Good News Club, but we always focus on the true meaning of Christmas. I challenge you to not leave Jesus out of Christmas!

Personally, I am always thankful for Thanksgiving. As I have written before, it is my favorite holiday of the year! With Wynn in college this year I am looking forward to him being with us a few days in a row and getting to go to Tennessee to celebrate with both sides of our family! Christmas will be another wonderful time to get together and celebrate the birth of Jesus together!

From my family let me say we love you and we are thankful for you! Thank you for how you minister to us and love us! Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and may you have a Blessed New Year!

Love, Travis, Karen, Wynn, and Graham


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