By Joseph Ostrander

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these…”   ~Mark 10:14

Greetings moms and dads of the Coastlands family that have young children attending our Coast Kids Sunday School ministry.  Let me tell you from personal experience, Carrie Ellis, Children’s Ministry Director ‘Extraordinaire’, and the cadre of dedicated volunteers investing their time and talents into your children, are to be duly commended for their combined efforts Sunday mornings.

There is an incredible dynamic occurring ‘behind-the-veil’ (tongue-in-cheek-reference to the stage curtains) that takes place in the sacred space located there while the main service is going on in the gym.  I can attest to the spiritual atmosphere of the Coast Kids assembly, affectionately referred to as controlled chaos, that is not spiritually separated by the functional stage curtain keeping the noise at an acceptable decibel level for the adults out there on the gym floor.  The children are not removed from the communal life of Coastlands Vineyard Church during this time as if they were sequestered apart from the rest of the attendees due to their rambunctious energy and child-like attention spans.  After all, they are children, and they thrive in an organized environment provided by understanding and appreciative adult facilitators who enjoy the flurry of youthful energy, and the unique personalities of each and every child.

I have been blessed, and oft times worn out, from my participation in the children’s ministry; it’s a real privilege.  And I wish to express something about the children I have interacted with during my short time volunteering behind the curtain:

Parents, you have my utmost admiration for the quality of youth you are raising in a very challenging economic, cultural, spiritually dry and sometimes scary world we live in today.  I do not wish to comment only about the generic category of your children simply being ‘good’.  It’s not enough to state that your kids are “good kids”, or “such great kids.”  Here is where I do want to share with you a few of my observations…

As rambunctious as your kids can be, I am amazed that their language is not crude, rude, or filled with expletives.  Really.  In every case of hoarding toys, or tempers raised, or the occasional feelers getting bruised, I have not heard one hateful/hurtful word uttered.  Not one.  And I have not observed any hints of a child being excluded or picked-on by others.  There are no ‘cliques’ or friction between the genders.  Newcomers are instantly welcomed and included in the excitement and energy of the regulars.  And even when your darling angel's behavior needs to be addressed (you know, that very ‘rare’ event), they are respectful of authority and never talk back.  Yup.  I want to commend you on the quality of character that you are investing in your children during the 6 days we don’t get to observe them…


Good job parents!

I can honestly say that I truly enjoy your children.  They are an incredible blessing not only to you, but to the rest of the faith community you have chosen to be part of.  I am honored to be a part of their Sunday morning encounter with the Holy Spirit and their peers in a fun-filled, encouraging, and safe environment.

Thank you for the opportunity to let me share in this multi-generational blessing with your children.