Next-Gen ministry for children at Powers Creek Church in West Kelowna, BC is evolving into something new and beautiful. Each week children and adult volunteers create a three to six minute video geared to children ages one through grade six. 

The church integrates the videos into their live-stream service on Sundays.

“It’s important for every generation to see the others,” says Erin Zilke, Director of Family Ministries. “As more and more people from the congregation become involved, the feeling of community grows.”

The videos take the place of the pre-COVID children’s church. When meeting in person went on hold, they experimented with sending sheets and materials to homes but soon realized that these didn’t serve families well. 

There was a big learning curve while making the first videos but they persevered. Each video features short segments with kids or adults telling a Bible story, doing an object lesson, going over a memory verse, singing, playing an instrument or demonstrating a craft. 

Several people take turns creating the videos and every week a leader involves kids and people from the church in the segments. Since children’s church left the building, creativity has exploded. Indoors or out, locations are anywhere that suit the purpose. Horses on a ranch were on hand to illustrate the point of one object lesson about trusting God.

From his parents, Erin learned of a seven-year-old boy in the congregation who creates YouTube videos. She wondered if his skills could be used for the Next Gen program. With help from his mom and dad, he makes one video a month. Benton is at ease in front of a camera whether talking about a concept, demonstrating a craft or explaining a group project. His younger sister, Addie often lends a hand as well.

Before the live-streamed services, a couple of adults host a half-hour Zoom call for the kids. “They miss their friends, and this is a time to see each other and catch up. It gives them a chance to be heard.” 

Erin is thankful for the guidance and support of Pastor David Barbour, the church’s fantastic tech guys and the many volunteers. “We wouldn’t be able to do this without all the people doing what they do to make it happen.” 

Creating videos is time-consuming but well worth it. Before COVID struck, children were not involved in the teaching. “Kids love to observe other kids and learn from them. It is powerful and helps them express and own their faith,” says Erin. 

When the church doors re-open, this change is a keeper. 

This article is featured in the Spring 2021 edition of The EMCC Together Newsletter.

Download a PDF copy of the newsletter and previous EMCC Together publications here.