Vacation Bible School Recap

Vacation Bible School is officially a wrap! After five days full of fun activities and sharing the Gospel, VBS is one for the books. Many families were blessed as we were able to introduce Jesus to children and families who do not yet know and trust him.

Our Children’s Minister, Jeanne Nation, is here to give you a rundown of the impact this annual tradition has made at Foothills.


What a great time we had at Vacation Bible School this last week! Our theme was Galactic Starveyors: Discovering the God of the Universe.

We had an average of 251 kids each day (Babies-5th grade). I want to say a huge “Thank You!” to the 100+ volunteers who helped make VBS a success.

One of the main reasons we do VBS is to reach the un-churched. We had 283 kids registered for VBS, and 64 of those kids did not list a church that they regularly attend. We will follow up with those families to invite them to Awana and engage them in other activities.

Our leaders were able to have Gospel conversations with 46 kids during the week; 9 of the kids prayed to trust Christ for forgiveness of their sins! That’s what VBS is all about!

During the week, we took up a missions offering to raise money to buy water filters for Southeast Asia. During the week, the kids collected a total of $1,030. We had an anonymous donor who graciously agreed to match the kids’ donations. With that money, we will be able to purchase 135 water filters for a village in Southeast Asia. A team from our church will be able to distribute those in their upcoming trip in April 2018. As a result of the kids reaching their goal, Cody Bishop (our new young adult pastor) and I covered each other with slime to celebrate the money raised.

Thank you to all the leaders who served in VBS, especially those who took vacation time or rearranged their work schedules. Thank you to the students – without your help, VBS would not be possible. Thank you to those who could not be here during the week but supported us in prayer!

Children in Worship

Hopefully, you have heard a lot about kids being in worship once a month, starting in September. We are really excited about this change, but I’m sure some of you might still have some concerns.

I wanted to provide you with some tips on how to make this a positive experience (for you and your child). Oftentimes, our attitude in presenting an idea determines whether our kids will have a good experience about something or not. I learned this lesson early on in my teaching career. I was working at a preschool, and the director of the preschool was trying to teach me this concept. To demonstrate her point, she had the entire class (3-4 year-olds) to lie down on their back and count the holes in the ceiling tiles. Sounds like a pretty unexciting activity, but the way she presented it to the kids was full of excitement. She conveyed her excitement to the kids, giving high fives for correct counting, etc. The kids thought that counting holes in the ceiling tiles was the most fun thing they could have done that afternoon. Lesson learned for me – if we present something as exciting, the kids are more likely to think the activity will be exciting.

Let’s apply that to worship. If you as the parent present the idea of them attending worship as something that they will have to sit perfectly still for more than an hour while they listen to someone else talk, etc. they will probably not be very excited about it. However, if you present it as an exciting opportunity that they are finally old enough to participate in, there will be more excitement. If you are truly looking forward to worship, and you convey this excitement to your kids, they are more likely to come ready to worship God as well. Maybe we all should start with an attitude check of our own heart: Are we eager to go to worship or are we going through the motions? Are we profoundly grateful for the saving work of Christ on the cross, or are we just being religious by habit or culture?

So, what can you do to help prepare your heart, as well as the heart of your child to worship? You can read the Scripture passage that Nate (or one of the other pastors) will be preaching from during the week. If kids are familiar with it, they will better be able to understand what is being said about the passage as well. You can encourage them to take notes during the sermon. As Brian mentioned in his post, that note taking may start off as picture drawing with a young child about something they heard from the sermon. It will eventually develop into keywords and maybe even an outline. We will provide you with a kid-friendly outline for your child to take notes on.

Some practical tips: Visit the bathroom and/or water fountain before you enter the worship service. Make sure you pick up the children’s hand-out and have a pen/pencil ready for your child to use. If you are serving in the choir, orchestra, teaching a class, etc. then your children will be more than welcome to sit with me. If the same child is present for both worship services, then we will have a special class for them during the 10:45 service that I will teach.

More than anything, keep in mind, that we know it is sometimes hard to pay attention to God and children at the same time. We know they can be aggravating and even embarrassing in church (Thanks Brian for the personal story of your son doing the Macarena!) But training your children to pay attention to God can be a very rewarding experience, as well as one that helps you pay attention to what is really important. We want the children at Foothills to grow and develop in a loving relationship with Jesus, and we think corporate worship is an important part of that process!

What Should We Expect of Kids in Worship?

In June of 1996, Madonna and I moved our family of three boys, then 10, 6, and 5 to Columbus, OH where I became the Pastor of a local church. That same summer, a song shot to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 and stayed there for 14 weeks. It’s the Macarena.

In July we were in a Sunday morning worship service. We didn’t do Kid’s Church. Madonna was in the choir, and I sat on the platform. That left our three guys on their own in the second pew, up front where we could keep an eye on them.

I don’t remember the worship song we were singing, but our 5 year old was really into it as he stood to his feet on the pew seat, turned to face the congregation and started doing his best Macarena moves! “Yeah, that’s the Pastor’s son.”

It’s a moment I’ll never forget, a little embarrassing as the new leader, but the congregation loved it. It was a five year olds way of responding to a crowd of people singing from their hearts. He didn’t understand it all, but it was okay. He was five and he was learning.

Maybe you’re a little concerned about what expectations you or others may have for your kids during worship? You may be thinking, “My kids just aren’t ready for this yet!” I hope our experience and these few ideas will help take the edge off and rest your expectations.

First – we expect your kids will ask questions – probably lots of them at first. That’s good! Quietly answer them in the moment – no need to “shoosh” them. It’s an opportunity to help them grasp what’s happening. Helping your child learn to worship isn’t about training them to sit quietly for 70 minutes without speaking.

Second – we expect your kids to be restless and squirmy. It’s okay! Give them a bit of space to move. God didn’t build kids to sit still for 70 minutes at a time. And if they do move around some, it doesn’t mean they’re not picking up what’s going on around them. (see above illustration)

Third – some of it will be over their heads. Of course – and it will be alright! We’ll give you some tools to help your child pay attention during the sermon. It may be as simple as drawing a picture of a story from the sermon, or listening for and writing down key words, or eventually making an outline. Remember this, one of the most important ways your children will learn to worship during worship, is by sitting with you and watching you worship. Worship isn’t just about what they’ve learned with their minds, but how they’re responding to God from their hearts.

Finally – keep the future in mind during the difficult moments. None of us learn to pay attention, concentrate, open our hearts and respond to the Lord in worship in a day. It’s what you do to help your kids pay attention, concentrate and respond to the Lord during those moments that will add up over time, helping your child love Jesus and become a worshipper from the head and heart!

“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9

Teaching Our Kids About Worship

You may have heard some variation of the following statements: parents are the primary disciples in a kid’s life or even parents have the most influence in a kid’s life. Here at Foothills we believe that’s true. Further, we believe it’s true in particular for parents who have young children. How many of us have heard young kids say, “I wanna be just like Dad or Mom when I grow up!” or “when I grow up I want to be as strong as Daddy!” (only to find out years later that Daddy’s really not all that strong – shh, don’t tell anyone). To that end, we want to make the most of the spiritual influence that adults can have on their kids.

Currently, the 1st – 5th grade kids leave just before the sermon is preached. Think about this: if a boy or girl grew up at Foothills and worked their way through elementary school and then onto middle school they would potentially have never participated in the entire duration of a worship service until they were a 9th grader – we believe this is too long to wait to begin integrating our kids into our service.

As a result, starting on September 4th we’re going to have our 1st – 5th grade kids join us for the whole worship service. This will happen on the 1st Sunday of each subsequent month. We really believe in the principle that so much of life is “caught not taught” and there’s truly nothing more important than teaching our kids about worshipping Jesus? On the first Sunday of the month we’ll still have our Kids Sermon moment, but they’ll simply stay in the “big room” for the whole service where they can see and participate in singing, giving, praying and hearing the Word preached. We know this probably raises some questions. To that end, over the next couple weeks our team is going to answer some of those questions, while also equipping you with some tools so we can make this the best possible transition we can.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this and look forward to seeing our 1st – 5th grade kids in service as they hear and see you and me make much of Jesus.

More Jesus, Less…

Pastor Nate Millican

Sunday Morning Changes for Children (and Parents)

It’s easy to be romantic about our Sunday morning routines and when that romance means children may be missing out on small moments with their parents which leave lasting impact – it’s time to talk.

This conversation is with Brian McCoy, Jeanne Nation and Nate Millican and together they discuss the motive behind changes coming to our Sunday mornings for children and parents along with the actual changes themselves.

Audio not loading? Click here to listen on SoundCloud.

Vacation Bible School Recap

Vacation Bible School is officially a wrap! After five days full of fun activities and sharing the Gospel, VBS is one for the books. Many families were blessed as we were able to introduce Jesus to children and families who do not yet know and trust him.

Our Children’s Minister, Jeanne Nation, is here to give you a rundown of the impact this annual tradition has made at Foothills.


What a great time we had at Vacation Bible School this last week! Our theme was Submerged: Finding Truth Below the Surface.

We had an average of 247 kids each day (Babies-5th grade). I want to say a huge “Thank You!” to the 100+ volunteers who helped make VBS a success.

One of the main reasons we do VBS is to reach the unchurched. We had 167 families represented at VBS, and 35 of those families did not list a church that they regularly attend. We will follow up with those families to invite them to Awana and engage them in other activities.

Our leaders were able to have Gospel conversations with 69 kids during the week; 15 of the kids prayed to trust Christ for forgiveness of their sins! That’s what VBS is all about!

I have had several conversations and emails with parents and heard comments like this: “My child came home every day from VBS excited to tell me what they had learned that day. Usually when I ask, ‘How was your day?’ I get comments like ‘good.’ Instead, when they came home from VBS, they were excited to tell me the Bible stories they had learned that day, show me the songs they had learned and tell me about the crafts. They loved it, and I love knowing that they were learning something during the day.”

So, thank you to all the leaders who served in VBS, especially those who took vacation time or rearranged their work schedules. Thank you to those who could not be here during the week but supported us in prayer!

Thank you to those who donated to our school supply drive for Rio Vista. We collected 1,549 total items and $2,140 to buy supplies. We will be able to supply Rio Vista with 200 backpacks full of school supplies.

Here are a few pictures from the event.

VBS at Foothills with Jeanne Nation

VBS is a tradition in the Christian church and throughout all the changes to curriculum, technology and culture, the purpose remains the same: to introduce Jesus to children and families who do not yet know and trust him.

In this conversation with Jeanne Nation you will learn why we continue to do VBS at Foothills Baptist Church in Ahwatukee, who VBS is for and how you can play a role in the event, even if you are not one to get excited about being in front of kids playing silly games.


Audio not loading? Click here to listen on SoundCloud.

Volunteers Needed for VBS

You know there are certain events in the calendar year that children love participating in. To them, it is having fun and playing – to us, we see a chance to share the gospel with those children and their families. Vacation Bible School is one of these yearly events where children get to play and have fun an entire week and parents know the blessing that is being shared with their children.

Vacation Bible School 2016

This year, we are taking children through a journey called “Submerged: Finding Truth Below the Surface.”  This will be an adventure like no other, deep within the mysterious sea. As kids submerge themselves in God’s Word, they will discover that Jesus didn’t just see what’s on the outside of people. He looked deep down on the inside.

Although VBS is a few months away, preparation is starting now. If you’ve been part of VBS in the past or had your kids participate in VBS you know there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Our Foothills staff goes out of their way to make it a memorable experience for your kids but we need your help.

Applying to Be a Volunteer

We invite you to join us on this amazing, memorable week. We are building a big team, and there is room for you! If you want to know more about how you could serve during VBS, please click on the button below to sign up to become a volunteer. Jeanne and/or Kim will be in touch with you soon!

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

YOU ARE INVITED!

You’re most likely reading this because you or your child received an invitation to come to the Foothills Baptist Annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Join us on March 29th after the 10:45 worship service, as we join our children for an early Easter celebration: the annual Foothills Baptist Church Easter Egg Hunt!

The afternoon will be great for parents and children of all ages. Together, we’ll enjoy lunch and the children will enjoy an egg hunt, crafts, activities and a presentation of the Easter story.

This event is free, but we ask that you please RSVP below so that we can best prepare for lunch. Thanks!

If you have questions or would like to RSVP, please contact Jeanne Nation.

Current Volunteer Opportunity

Children are a blessing! It just so happens that Foothills Preschool Classrooms continue to receive more and more blessings every week. One way of describing our current blessing count is we are bursting at the seams.

Often adults believe they are not equipped or qualified to teach – hey, Moses felt the same way. Truthfully, the only qualifications we require are a servants attitude, a loving heart for children and a loving heart for Jesus. We also require a background check for security and state requirements. Any necessary training will be provided.

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

Exodus 3:11 NIV

We cannot quantify the level of blessing we provide to the little ones when we speak the truth and love of Jesus into their lives. It’s something we each have the ability to do – now might be your moment to step into this powerful opportunity.

Our need for Sunday morning volunteers is great for our 9:00 am and our 10:45 am services. Email Kim Anderson for more details.