Value #4: Relationships

My love for winning drives my distaste for group projects. 

As an adult, working on projects with others on my team, at least in my profession, isn't so bad. My teammates make me better. They help me get my vision out of the clouds and into the dirt where the ideas can take root and ultimately produce. Without their help, I'd just be a think tank. 

But such productivity was the not the norm for group projects in high school, college or even seminary. These group projects usually had one of two outcomes.

1. The most likely scenario was that every group member did their specific task separately. Until the day leading up the project when these separate parts were united into the group's project.

The outcome. Hooray!! We worked as a team. 

2. The other likely scenario went something like this.  One person performed the majority of the research and actually produced the product so that they wouldn't have their grade reduced by the three other students who only show up at the end of the project and put their name on the assignment.  

The outcome. Boo!! I hate everyone on this team. 

Based on my hatred for group projects, you can probably guess which of those outcomes was my most common experience. However, neither of those outcomes express how we try to partner with parents.  Because even if successful, both outcomes of a group project neglect relationships and leave me feeling like ultimately we all lost in spite of our grade.  

As a parent and a ministry, each one of us could pursue inspiring faith in the next generation alone, but there is greater influence when we partner together. 

Two combined influences will make a greater impact than just two influences.
— Reggie Joiner, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity

When we work in relationship with one another, there is greater encouragement, satisfaction and level of accomplishment (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).  Therefore at Northridge Kids we value...

We think life change and faith inspiration happen best within the context of relationships. Therefore, we seek to prioritize relationships with parents, relationships between leaders and kids, and the relationships between each kid who attends Northridge Kids. Our value of relationships is revealed by: 

LEVERAGING PARENTS

On average Northridge Kids has 40 hours with your children. Compare that to more than 3,000 hours the average parent has with their child. While our staff and volunteer invest countless hours to make sure we get the most out of our 40, we also invest a significant amount of time and energy into helping you get the most out of your 3,000 by working to cue faith conversations within your family's rhythm. How do we do that? 

  • PARENT CUE - This monthly resource highlights the Bible Stories and Bottom Lines for each week of the month. Parents can utilize the Parent Cue throughout the month in order to synchronize their faith discussions as a way to amplify what is already taking place at Northridge Kids. You can also find that information online for both HighPoint and our Pre K environments. 

  • CELEBRATIONS - We seek to connect faith to life by celebrating both annual (holidays) and milestone events (Parent & Child Dedication for newborns and Next Level Event for 5th Graders moving into Middle School) recognizing faith is a part of life, not apart from life. These events are our ways of trying to help you make the most of these special occasions within the spiritual journey of your child. 

  • SOCIAL - We want to connect with you each Sunday when you pick up and drop off your child. We understand that even a short, simple conversation goes a long way. We also want to connect throughout the week. Let us know about special events in your kids lives that we can participate with you. Finally, join in the conversation taking place on Facebook and Twitter. Use the best of what we offer in your family's rhythm. 

LOVING LEADERS

Our volunteers (whether leaders in Pre K or SGLs in HighPoint) strive to engage with kids as uniquely and specifically as possible through their consistent presence and ability to create a safe and accepting environment. When our leaders succeed at creating this community, they are able to engage in faith conversations that help kids apply the Bible to their life and encourage them take their next faith steps. 

LIFE-LONG FRIENDS

While we can't manufacture relationships, Northridge Kids does our best to develop environments which are conducive for relationships. By creating a safe place where kids are known, accepted and heard by adults and other kids, they become more open to connecting with those with whom they have fun, share faith and show and receive care. By developing strong relationships with others in their group, kids in turn experience a positive peer pressure to help them make wise choices from elementary to High School and throughout one's faith journey.  

Value #3: Safety

As a child of the 80s, when someone mentions the idea of safety, there is one image that consistently pops into my mind...

First introduced in 1971, Mr. Yuk was created by the Pittsburgh Poison Center in order to promote poison prevention. His presence was most popular in Western Pennsylvania, but Mr. Yuk could be found in homes across the country. By the time I was born in 1981, his image was plastered on every chemical in my house. As a toddler, I was trained by my parents and this frightening commercial to stay away from any object that had this sticker. Seeing that I'm still alive more than thirty years later, the warnings were effective, at least in my household. 

While the images of Mr. Yuk have largely disappeared from our culture, the idea of child safety certainly has not. In fact, safety is consistently the number one priority for parents when choosing automobiles, childcare facilities, educational opportunities and even extra-curricular activities. For parents, the priority of their child's safety ensures peace of mind. 

At Northridge Kids your child's safety is our main concern. Here's why: 

Safety sets you, the parent at ease. We don't think you as parents can participate in the worship experience if you're on high alert on your kid's behalf. When your kids are physically and emotionally safe, you can be experientially present in our worship experience.   

Safety sets your kids at ease. We don't think your kids will have fun or learn unless we have first created environments characterized by safety. Trusted adults point kids toward a trustworthy God. When kids are physically and emotionally safe, they will be spiritually open

While there are numerous ways Northridge Kids seeks to maintain physical and emotional safety, here are some of the most prominent: 

  • check-in

    Located in the lobby, our computer check-in stations allow you to retrieve your family's information and select with environments they will participate in for the day. A name tag will print for each child as well as pick up tag for the parent. There will be code on your child's name tag that is identical to the one on your parent tag. Each week this code is randomly assigned. At the conclusion of the service, parents present their tags at their child's environment. Our volunteers match the parent tag with each child before releasing the child to an adult. 
  • Environments

    • CLEAN - While "cleanliness is next to godliness" isn't in the Bible, we do think it best helps prepare kids to learn the Bible. Having a clean kid's environment is more inviting and healthy for kids and more inspirational for our volunteers. We've found that clean environments certainly lead to  better faith conversations between kids and volunteers. 

    • AGE-APPROPRIATE - Our environments are designed physically (size and design) and developmentally (teaching and activities) specific for the ages who utilize the space.  

    • WELL-STAFFED - Our goal is not to manage a crowd, but to inspire faith. Therefore, we maintain recommended adult to child ratios (Infants 1:2. Toddlers 1:3. Pre K 1:4. Elementary 1:8) to ensure our leaders' ability to connect and care for each child as uniquely and specifically as possible.  

  • VOLUNTEERS

    • BACKGROUND CHECKED - Every volunteer who serves in our ministry has passed a state and national background check (covering criminal and sexual misconduct) and they have also passed reference checks (covering skill and stability).   

    • TRAINED & IDENTIFIABLE - Before serving, our volunteers test drive our environments where they learn their roles and responsibilities. Our leadership team encourages continual skill development through trainings and resources. You'll recognize these individuals when you look into our environments and see not only their smiles and skills but also their shirts. As a team member, volunteers wear our Northridge Kids t-shirt and a name tag every Sunday. 

    • SECURITY TEAM - Each campus has security personnel who help ensure that anyone without a tag (see check-in segment above) is not permitted to enter our kid's environments. 

 

We place great value on children because they are important to parents and also to Jesus (Mark 9:42). We think the best way for us to inspire faith is by creating environments where kids feel physically and emotionally safe.

If you have any questions about how we operate our environments to ensure physical and emotional safety, we'd love to hear from you. Please connect with us HERE

Value #2: Gospel

Not long ago I walked into the office and found a package addressed to me. When I opened the box, I found a note and several coffee mugs from one of my favorite organizations. I was pumped! 

I immediately (and literally) ran to the offices of our campus pastors to share the good news and give them their own coffee mugs. Luckily someone who didn't get a mug was around to snap a pic of us as proof

A coffee mug. 

That's all it took to create enough excitement for me tell someone about my experience and invite them to share in my joy. 

At Northridge Kids that's exactly how we feel about our second value, the Gospel. We are so excited about what Jesus has done for us that we want to share our experience with others.  

What is the Gospel? 

The word gospel actually means "good news." It is the news of Jesus' life, death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). That news is good because Jesus has taken our place! Jesus' death paves the way for forgiveness with God, from whom we would otherwise be separated from because of our sins. The Gospel is good news telling us that through Jesus we can have forgiveness from sin and access to God. 

Because Northridge Kids thinks the Gospel is the most important message in history, it is the motivation for everything we say and do on Sunday morning with your kids and throughout the week to partner with adults.

What is our goal? 

When we share the Gospel, our desire is that kids respond in one of two ways: 

1. ACCEPT

We want share the Gospel with every kid who walks into Northridge Kids so that they can hear and accept it. By accept it we mean that they believe in Jesus. We want them to express their belief by asking Jesus to be the forgiver of their sins. 

What we don't want to do is take away your job as spiritual leader. So, as much as we want to talk about Jesus and the Gospel, we want you to be the one who is able to walk with your child across the line of faith. That joy and responsibility is yours! Our volunteers will communicate conversations that indicate your child's interest in faith and our staff is willing to help provide resources and coaching to make you as comfortable as possible as you talk to your kids about accepting Jesus as their forgiver.  

You will find a couple of recommended resources at the bottom of the blog. If you have any further questions on having faith conversations with your kids, please feel free to open a conversation with us HERE.

The Gospel is a message that only has to be believed once - BUT it also serves as the MOTIVATION behind every decision from there on out. Therefore, our second goal is that when the Gospel is shared it will...

2. MOTIVATE

One of the earliest followers of Jesus, Paul, wrote that it is God who gives the believer desire and power for acting out our faith (Philippians 2:13). For those who believe in God, the Gospel helps us want to do right and provides the energy we need to do right in our life. That's motivation! 

Each month our kids learn a new Life App. Teaching kids to show contentment, generosity or perseverance apart from God's power is merely moralism. You could stay at home and see that on a cartoon.

Moralism IS NOT our goal! 

What makes Northridge Kids different is that we teach kids that the only way they're able to demonstrate these monthly faith skills is through the power God provides. The motivation and energy to obey God is only available to those who have accepted Jesus. 

The Gospel excites us.

It motivates us to share.

We want each kid who hears that message to accept it and use it to motivate faith in action. And when they do...the celebration is much larger than the dance we do for a new coffee mug.

 

 

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE GOSPEL? 

PDF. How to talk to your kids about faith. Salvation Conversation Guidelines.

Video. How to share the Gospel with your kids. Bridge Illustration.

Book. Brief yet powerful look at the Gospel as motivation for believers. Living the Cross Centered Life.

Value #1: Bible

 

In every area of life we prioritize what we find most important. 

Values. When we talk about values, we are actually talking about priorities. 

Values determine both the "WHAT" we do and the "HOW" we do it. We talked about the "WHY" in a previous post on the mission of Northridge Kids. (Click HERE to read it now, if you missed it.)

Ultimately, values reveal and reflect the priorities of any organization.

For example, if you've ever flown on Southwest Airlines you'll recognize that compared to other airlines they're dressed more casually and create a level of brevity surrounding their safety announcements...that most people ignore anyways. That's a reflection of their value of being Fun-LUVing. Fun is a value that is clearly visible within their organization. Fun is celebrated and rewarded as the way that creates and maintains loyal customers. However, you will not see fun in the core values of Delta Airlines. They even call their values "Rules of the Road." There is no fun with Delta. There is however, safety and professionalism, which are also admirable traits. 

Delta's values aren't bad. Southwest's values aren't good. Their values just serve as a guide for what they do and how they do it. Their values also determine "WHO" chooses to do business with them.

You're far more likely to hear a screaming baby on Southwest than Delta because serious business travelers want to be treated seriously, not greeted with families wearing Hawaiian shirts and floaties headed to San Diego for vacation. And since families don't want to annoy serious people, they'll fly Southwest, where kids are welcomed as evidence of fun.   

Northridge Kids has seven values that serve as the basis for WHAT we do (Foundational Values) and HOW we do ministry (Methodological Values). Over the next several weeks we want to take time to introduce our priorities since they directly affect what activities and programs our staff implements. These values establish the words and actions of our volunteers and ultimately each parent's willingness to allow their kids to participate in our Sunday morning environments. 

Our first value is the standard for everything else we know and do.

Value #1: Bible

If your best friend wrote a story about herself, you'd want to read it. The same is true of God. If the Creator of the universe took steps to tell us about himself in a book, we should want to know about Him. 

God has talked to us in such a way. That way is the Bible!

The Bible is where we hear what God says. 

One of Jesus' closest friends, Paul, wrote to a young pastor in the first century named Timothy and reminded him that God has spoken to us and that knowing God has spoken was important. That letter is the book of 2 Timothy. It's amazing that we still have that letter 2,000 years later! Here's what Paul told Timothy: 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Paul told him that Scripture, or the Bible, is God-breathed. That means its very words come from God! God is the source of the Bible's words. 

Because those words came from God, their content is useful and helpful to us. According to Paul's letter, the words of God:

  • Point us in the right direction ("useful for teaching"),
  • Keep us from going in the wrong direction ("rebuking" and "correcting") and
  • Help us become who God made us to be ("training in righteousness"). 

And ultimately the goal of that teaching is that we demonstrate our love for God and others through obedient service ("equipped for every good work").

When your kids come to Northridge Kids, you can be sure that what they hear will emphasize the Bible as the very words of God and that because God speaks to us, we should listen and obey. 

 

 

want to know more about the bible? 

Article. Brief yet detailed. Revelation, Inspiration and Illumination by Tim Challies.

Book. Deeper but understandable. Taking God at His Word by Kevin DeYoung.

Tool. Talking points for your kids. Big Truths for Young Hears by Bruce A.Ware.

 

Start With Why

At Northridge Kids, we're not psychologists but let's start out with a little Word Association Game anyways. What's the first word you think of when you see the name of the following organizations? OK...Go!  

 

Starbucks

Starbucks

 

Apple

applelogo.png

 

Nike

 

Got your answers? I'm betting if you're anything like most people, or at least like me, the first word that popped into your mind for these organizations was coffee, computers and shoes. That particular organization's product. Am I right? I hope so, because we're going with those answers anyways. 

Starbucks, Apple and Nike are three of the most culturally relevant organizations in America today. In spite of their differences, they are all similar in one way. They are ALL in the inspiration business. These organizations don't exist to make coffee, computers and shoes. They exist to inspire people to connect, innovate and move. Their products: coffee, computers and shoes are merely the way they partner with you to reach your goals.

 

If you want to connect with your spouse...enjoy a cup of our coffee together.

 

If you want to create new ideas...utilize our cutting edge computers to fuel your ideas.

 

If you want to get in shape...wear our stylish and functional shoes to get started. 

 

As a consumer, you utilize these product because they help you reach your goal. Kids ministry really isn't any different. The volunteers and staff at Northridge think you, the parent and your child's primary influencer, bring your kids to Northridge because you share our goal. 

Could you name that goal?

Your primary goal (or mission) as a parent is not to produce well behaved kids or even to impress other parents with your parenting skills. As tempting as those goals may be, the Bible reveals that the primary goal of parents is to inspire faith in our children by regularly sharing examples of the love and work of God. Why do we think that? Here are a few examples: 

 

  • Psalm 145:4 - Our generation is to talk about who God is and what he has done.

 

  • Psalm 78:4-7 - Our motivation is the faith and obedience of the next generation. 

 

  • Deuteronomy 6:5-9 - Our rhythm of life should be characterized by regular faith conversations. 

 

God's plan of inspiring faith is given to parents. Northridge Kids can't and won't take that role away from you. However, we do want to partner with you. 

Northridge Kids doesn't exist as a ministry of Northridge Church simply to create bigger classes or better programs. Our Sunday morning experiences (the Nursery, Ark, Hot Spot and HighPoint) are the product we design to help start faith conversations while also encouraging and equipping parents with the tools they need to succeed in their goal of faith inspiration. So what is the mission of Northridge Kids? 

 

Our Mission: To partner with parents in order to inspire faith in the next generation. 

 

Your goals are our goals. Let's succeed together at inspiring faith in the next generation. 

                                                                                                                                           

Notes: 

*The Golden Circle image taken from Simon Sinek's book Start With Why