Promiseland has developed and implemented specific values that reflect our Mission.
Surrounding these values is the two-pronged approach to which Promiseland is committed:
1. To teach biblical truths in a child-targeted, relevant, and creative way in a Large Group setting.
2. To model loving, biblical community in Small Groups where life change happens best.
From this framework we developed 6 values that are specific to Promiseland.
Child-Targeted, Relevant, Teaching the Bible Creatively
Intentional Shepherding, Safe, FUN
Promiseland is a CHILD-TARGETED ministry.
It's amazing how easily this value can get turned around. Because we are working with adult volunteers, it's easy to start doing the things that please adults instead of focusing on our target audience. We need to be very clear that we are trying to reach children! Just as missionaries immerse themselves in the culture of the people they are trying to reach, we want to immerse ourselves into and know the culture of children today. We will do what we need in order to reach this generation for Christ. We need to plan activities that are age-appropriate and engaging to children. The decor in the classrooms needs to communicate that in these rooms children are treasured. Songs and Bible lessons need to be taught in ways that will best reach and teach children. We must look at everything we do through a child's eyes to create a ministry that reaches, teaches, and loves that child. Our commitment to being child-targeted is absolutely non-negotiable.
Promiseland values lessons that are RELEVANT to kids now.
Every lesson, example, and activity is relevant to kids in their lives NOW. We ask, "How does this lesson apply to their culture and world today?" and "How can the Bible truth be relevant in the life of a child today?" For both Christian kids and seeker kids, relevancy is an important key to moving them across the line of faith in Jesus and growing them up into fully devoted followers of Him.
Our lesson objectives are designed to help children discover the relevancy of the Bible.
The first objective focuses on KNOW WHAT? — the goal is that the kids will know the Bible story presented.
The second objective focuses on SO WHAT? — the goal is that the kids understand the Bible truth in the story.
Finally, the third objective is NOW WHAT? — the goal is that the kids leave with a relevant and personal application of the Bible truth taught.
During each lesson, kids will be challenged to answer the last two questions, SO WHAT? and NOW WHAT?
Think of the story of David and Goliath. A young boy with neither weapons nor sophisticated battle strategy trusted Almighty God to conquer one huge, insulting giant while frightened adults ran from the task.
When the story is over, kids ask, SO WHAT? They are helped to discover that David knew God was on his side, and with God, all things are possible. That's the Bible truth.
But then, we take it a step further.
The kids are now faced with the question of NOW WHAT? "What does the story have to do with me? How does it relate to my life? Now what am I supposed to do?"
We can help them answer the NOW WHAT? question. Kids discover that when they have a giant problem – like when they can't memorize their math facts fast enough to pass the time test at school, or when Mom and Dad are facing giant problems at home, or when a giant bully hassles them at the park — they can know, just as David did, that God is on their side and, with His help, all things are possible!
Being relevant means helping kids see that God's Word is written for them and can be applied to every one of them.
Promiseland values TEACHING THE BIBLE CREATIVELY.
In order to keep pace with the various learning styles of children today, we need to vary how we communicate our lessons each week. The biblical message is so powerful and effective — the same yesterday, today, and forever. But we discovered that in order to teach in a way that's relevant to our target audience, we had to update our methods of presentation. Our goal was for the children to become so fascinated with the Bible stories that they wanted to learn more. We quickly realized that we needed a clearer understanding of our children's world. We started watching their favorite television shows, observed the places they like to eat, play, and learn, and we studied the ways children learn best. Then we put all that information to use in preparing curriculum that would teach the Bible lessons creatively through realistic drama sketches, video clips, creative storytelling, contemporary music, and other various teaching methods. We began to use surprises, games, and fun activities, which varied from week to week. We wanted our children to keep coming back for more. Since we have the most incredible message to tell about the AWESOME God of the universe, how can we allow Sunday school to be boring? We must teach the Bible creatively.
Promiseland values INTENTIONAL SHEPHERDING of children through Small Groups.
Intentional shepherding means modeling Christ to a group of children. Volunteers of Promiseland strive to creatively provide important biblical information that is relevant to a child's life. They also understand that building a relationship with a child may be the most effective teaching tool of all. We have the incredible privilege, as authentic Christ-followers, of representing Jesus and modeling what it means to be a follower of Christ to children each week. They are greatly influenced by adults who believe in them, encourage them, and guide them. So, volunteers commit to stay with a group of children to care for them, know them, disciple them, and help them become more like Christ. We strongly believe that life change happens best within the context of a small, biblically-functioning community that meets regularly. Within that context, we can help our children develop spiritually as we lay a foundation of key biblical principles that will guide them for the rest of their lives. We have an opportunity to build a lasting legacy of faith each year as we shepherd our children.
Promiseland values keeping children SAFE — spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
We want Promiseland to be a safe place for children. We understand that safety and security are two of a child's highest needs. Children cannot learn well in an environment where they are afraid and don't feel safe emotionally, physically, or spiritually. As children arrive in Promiseland, they need to feel a genuine warmth and immediate comfort level with the adults who are responsible for them. We need to assure parents and children alike that we have their best interests as our top priority at all times. That's why safety is a must.
What does it mean to offer a spiritually safe environment? Children are in different places spiritually. Seeker kids need to have a place where they will not be put on the spot to "know" the Bible or understand a Christian living concept. They will not be coerced into making spiritual decisions they are not ready to make. They will be allowed to move in their spiritual journey one step at a time. All kids, seeker and Christian, need to have a safe place where they know that it is okay to ask hard questions about faith.
Emotional safety occurs as leaders who are positive, welcoming, and sincere surround children. Kids are accepted and affirmed for who they are. They are nurtured through kind words and actions by all volunteers. Studies show that kids grow best in environments that are positive!
Physical safety is reflected through having room environments with age-appropriate equipment, background checks and interviews with all volunteers, security tags for all volunteers and staff, name tags on all children, registration processes outside of the Promiseland rooms, and the enforcement of check-in and check-out procedures. Children have to face scary situations too often in their lives. We want our kids to be able to know without hesitation that they are safe at Promiseland and safe in their church.
Promiseland values FUN!
Our goal is to have our children come back week after week because they can't wait to return. We want them to have FUN. While kids keep coming back for the FUN, we can accomplish our mission by continuing to nurture and teach them spiritually. In order to make our children's ministry the best hour of a child's week, we have to remember to add the FUN! And remember, the FUN factor affects adult volunteers, too!