Our next virtual field trip is to Connection Pointe Christian Church in Brownsburg, Indiana.  This past August, they held an event to help parents create a rhythm in their families.  It went so well, we asked Laura Gambrell, the curriculum director for Early Childhood,  if she would let us “visit” with them and hear more about this event!  Laura very graciously said, “Yes”, and here we are today, inviting you to join us on this virtual field trip! So, here we go…..

Connection Pointe

Hi! Welcome to Connection Pointe! We are a church of approximately 4,000 nestled in Brownsburg, a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. We love our Colts, Pacers, watching the trees explode into orange & yellow, and we especially love our preschool families.

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My name is Laura, and I am the curriculum director for Early Childhood. As a parent of several preschoolers I am in the trenches right alongside the preschool families that worship with us. There never seems to be enough time to spend doing things that matter. Juggling the job of employee, mother, wife, friend, housekeeper, chef, and taxi driver I find myself exhausted at the end of each day wondering how I’m going to possibly help lead my children to the Lord. I know God is big and He loves me and my family very much—but how can I better incorporate passing down that love to my children so they know without a doubt that He loves them too?

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One night while scrubbing the permanent marker off of my preschoolers in the tub I sat there thinking about things we could do as a family that would point my kids to Jesus but not whittle away time planning, gathering, and organizing. They don’t need to be Pinterest-worthy projects or even perfect moments. How can we communicate that to parents? After some thinking & searching we found the Create a Rhythm Event designed and written by our friends at Orange. It was exactly what we were looking for.

  1. It had a focus on setting up the parents to win
  2. It was fun & engaging
  3. It was easy!

We recently hosted this Create a Rhythm Preschool Event and I would love to talk about it with you. Connection Pointe holds several milestone events throughout the year that we call Parent Link. We had yet to do one for the early childhood years and decided that this event was the missing piece we were looking for to support our parents of preschoolers. We are always looking to align events with our strategy. Families matter!

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We did our Parent Link event as a family night where preschoolers joined their parents in our early childhood space. We provided childcare for children in the family that were younger than two and older than five so that parents could enjoy investing time with their preschooler free of distractions from other siblings. This went over very well. Parents loved having precious time with just their preschoolers. And naturally, the preschoolers loved the extra attention. Hands were held. Kids were cuddled. Wins all around

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The first hour of the event the families traveled through craft and snack stations. They made a yellow & red prayer pillow where moms & dads each wrote a prayer for their child that was tucked inside before stuffing and tying. The prayer pillow was instructed to be placed on their bed as a reminder to pray each night to God and thank Him for all of our blessings. We staffed the event with our small group leaders and it was a great way for parents and SGLs to connect with each other.  We are always looking for ways to partner with parents and connecting them to their child’s small group leader is the best way to do that.

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After our stations we gathered in the large group space and did family worship. We did all the favorites so that parents could see what we see each week–which is preschoolers singing, dancing, wiggling, and shouting praises to our God. Following worship we had a read aloud of Skeeples & Lomes where the kids sat with their families.  We love this book because it is essentially recasting our vision to our families. Yellow is the church. Red is the family. Together we are orange. The kids love this book as well. We handed out copies of this book to families as they left so they could enjoy reading with their preschooler (and catching the Orange strategy!) over & over again.

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The final portion of our evening was designed just for the parents. After the story time all of the small group leaders took the preschoolers out to the playground attached to our building while we sat and talked with the parents. We talked about respecting the natural rhythms in our day and week and how as parents of preschoolers we can add in a layer of faith by speaking Biblical Truths into their hearts. We don’t want to add another task to their already full schedule. We wanted to teach them how to take moments that happen regularly and make them matter more. We talked about Cuddle Time, Play Time, Drive Time, and Bath Time and how to use those times to our advantage. We talked about Parent Cue, social media resources, blogs, and other ways our church wants to partner with parents. During this short time parents also enjoyed a few kid free moments to breath and connect with each other.

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Here is what some of our families and SGL’s had to say:

As a small group leader, I enjoyed meeting the parents of the children I teach and seeing how they interacted while talking about God and praying. It makes me feel good knowing I’m helping to teach and develop their preschoolers relationship with God.

Jessica, Small Group Leader

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Being new to Connection Pointe, the Parent Link Preschool Edition helped us to connect with the volunteers our boys see and learn from each weekend. We enjoyed the opportunity to have a night as a family and worship together. The night opened doors to discuss God and His role in our lives.

Kaci, mother of 2

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Parent Link Preschool Edition allowed us to spend extra special time with our 2 year old son. He loved making his craft, enjoying a snack, and listening to a story. Most importantly he left with a stronger understanding of Jesus’ love for him, and as parents we left with more tools to further his relationship with Christ.

Ashley, mother of 2

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I think gathering preschool families together in a room is essential in deciding to truly partner with parents. The early childhood years are trying and scary for everyone involved. Parents are naturally searching for ways to help raise their child in a way that will point them to Christ. They are eager for camaraderie, support, and knowledge. Whether your church is bigger or smaller finding a way to partner with the parents of the littlest learners will surely set up the parents to understand that you are someone who will support them along the way.

 

We so appreciate Laura taking the time to share the details of their event with us!  If you have questions for her, you can comment below or contact her directly here:

Laura Gambrel Laura.gambrel@cpccweb.org

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Facebook at:  /cpkids

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