Friendsville United Methodist Church needs more children. And, the church desires to reach out to its small Blount County, Tenn., community.
Michael Friant, 21, always enjoyed working with children and teaching them in Bible school. During 2007, Friant and then-pastor Daryll Rasnake brainstormed some ideas. Now Friant is children’s ministry director for Wednesday Night Live. The new ministry received a $1,500 Change For Children grant this year.
The church already sponsors a community dinner, starting at 6:30 p.m.. After the dinner, Friant invites anyy elementary and preschool-age children in attendance to talk about school, grades, and prayer requests.
Bible lessons follow. Recently, the group learned about Pentecost and the Great Thanksgiving, then completed a related craft project. Friant said the children drew pictures of all of the disciples eating. He offered the children flatbread, grapes, and grape juice to illustrate the Great Thanksgiving.
The children also review their lesson from the previous week, discuss the Sunday sermon, and play games. Some of the children have start participating in Sunday worship at Friendsville UMC
Friant has seen evidence that the children are learning “When our pastor has the children’s time during the church service on Sunday, they are actually more talkative to him and know some of the answers,” he said.
During Vacation Bible School this summer, Friant said the children gave money to purchase school supplies for nearby Union Grove School students who needed them.
Friant hadn’t expected to receive the Change for Children grant. Yet, he felt excited, knowing Holston Conference saw the program as viable.
“I have been buying the materials by myself with money they pay me to do it,” he said. “Now, I can buy better materials and other stuff for the program.”