Have you heard the latest news about our Children’s and Student ministries? If not, you’ll want to keep reading! (The post below was excerpted from an article written by Melissa Forbes in the Winter 2014 issue of SUMMIT MAGAZINE. To read the article in its entirety, click here and go to page 46!)
Tracy Beeson, Director of Family Ministries at Summit, now oversees all of the ministries that impact Summit kids: Stepping Stones, for kids from infancy through pre-kindergarten; Foothills, an engaging place for elementary-age kids; Base Camp Live!, a learning and worship environment kids and their parents experience together; Surge, the weekly setting for middle school students; and The Edge, Summit’s high school ministry.
Although the Family Ministries role is new to Tracy, children’s ministry is not. She began attending and volunteering at Summit in 2004 while she was a student at UCF. She joined the Children’s Ministry staff, later became the Children’s Ministry Director, and has continued leading Base Camp ever since, overseeing the weekly growth of kids from 150 to nearly 700.
Lead Pastor John Parker and the leadership team recently decided to connect Base Camp and Student Ministries under one umbrella: Family Ministries. “We see the value,” Tracy says, “in streamlining the message, parent connection, and consistency across all family ministries.”
When Tracy and I met to talk about her expanded role at Summit, she handed me a book that has helped shape her thinking about children and teen ministries. Called Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids (Powell and Clark), her copy of the book is, funny enough, bursting with sticky notes.
Consider some of the facts she highlighted: 40 to 50 percent of kids who graduate from a church or youth group fail to stick to their faith in college. The good news is, about half return to their faith in their late 20’s. But for Tracy, that’s not enough.
“Do you realize,” she asks, “that nearly every adult believer in this country came to their faith by the time they were 14 years old? What we say to our kids and how we spend our time with them matters. I want to figure out how to make every one of our kids develop a faith that sticks.”
As Tracy began to partner with Student Ministries, she and O.J. Aldrich (who is now Summit’s Lake Mary Campus Minister) challenged themselves to create additional ways for parents to learn to talk with their kids about their faith. Parent seminars, niceSERVE curriculum for families, and Family Camp were all born out of their conversations. Tracy is determined to motivate her staff and Summit families to keep dreaming big when it comes to providing avenues to get families talking about God.
For our Family Ministry team, the bottom line is supporting families as they reach their kids’ hearts for Christ. If they can equip moms and dads to be leaders in their homes and to talk openly with their kids about Jesus, then that vision will be realized.
Parents, one of the many ways you can stay connected with what your kids are up to in Base Camp and Summit Students is just a click away at summitconnect.org. Upcoming events, series, parent resources, and more can be found under the Ministries tab.