Thursday, July 19, 2012

Voyagers Discipleship Builds Kids' Faith

“Voyagers is basically Journey Groups for children,” said Marianne Perry, who led the fifth-grade girls this year in the program. It’s a discipleship program at CPC for children in third through fifth grade that is geared to support parents as they take the primary responsibility of discipling their children. This past year on Sunday evenings, children received an engaging introduction to what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Then parents took their kids to the next level by continuing the experience throughout the rest of the week: Take-home supplements equipped parents to have a devotional time with their children that tied to the Bible lesson.

“The material is great; it’s not fluffy,” said Elise Bosscher, the leader for the fourth-grade girls. Leaders work through John Piper’s curriculum To Be Like Jesus, which comes from his Children Desiring God series.

Brian Keen, a CPC elder who filled in as the fifth-grade boys leader early in the year, added that the material “pushed kids to a mature discussion that they normally wouldn’t have had at their age. It was pretty deep.”

Voyagers follows the T.E.A.M.S. model for discipleship. Jennifer Reinecke, the director of children’s ministries at CPC, described how it works: First, kids receive a basic understanding of a Bible lesson (Truth) and discuss how it applies to their lives (Equipping). They have the support of an adult leader, the other group members, and their parents as they attempt to live it out in their daily lives (Accountability). Then the kids learn to talk about their faith and to serve others in the church and community (Mission). The groups pray from lesson applications, missions, and church-wide prayer concerns as well as requests from group members (Supplication). Fun activities finish off the evening.

“It helps kids get serious about their walk, and they help their peers in their walk,” Brian added. “My oldest daughter Joanna, who is ten, went through Voyagers, and rather than being told the right thing to do, she actually saw examples – leadership by example rather than just being lectured to.”

Elise shared that her girls experienced several “aha!” moments. “I loved it when the girls put something we talked about into practice and came back the next week to tell about it, and when they came in with serious questions that they may have been too nervous about asking a parent or teacher. They were questions about life, faith, God – they felt comfortable asking in the Voyagers atmosphere.”

As Marianne concluded, “I wish I’d had this when my kids were little.”

The Voyagers program will start up again in the fall. If you are interested in signing up your kids for the program OR if you would like to help disciple kids in Voyagers, please contact Jennifer Reinecke at 727-2661 or email