Portico Kids Fall 2022 Updates

Dear Portico Families and Volunteers,

I have really enjoyed my first weeks as the new Portico Kids Director.  I’ve been observing, reading, praying, meeting with stakeholders, organizing, and planning.  It’s been awesome!  There are so many committed people that love our church and love our children!

When I was hired, I was encouraged to dream big about creating the best child-centered program we could at this time.  The charge wasn’t to simply maintain the status quo, but to move the program from surviving to thriving.  Immediately, I noticed how important Portico Kids is to our church and how many people were willing to help.  Over 120 Portico members are on the volunteer list!  However, as great as that is, we still struggle to fill our volunteer slots each week.  It takes roughly 24 volunteers to run seven classrooms on Sunday morning.

The most recent Barna Group research shows that only 10% of “church” kids, by the ages of 18-29,  qualify as “resilient disciples.”  For those kids that didn’t walk away, the most important factor wasn’t the quality of the curriculum, or the fancy facilities, or the cool programs they attended; it was belonging to a church and the relationships they formed with their teachers, their friends, and the adults that guided them to grasp the relevance of their faith and know and love Jesus.  Simply put, disciples make disciples.
Children need to connect with their teacher and their classmates to form meaningful relationships.  They need to know what friendly faces to expect, and establish predictable routines and expectations.  They need someone to ask them how their basketball game went, about that pesky math test, and how the new puppy is doing.  That doesn’t happen when you have a revolving door volunteer model.  That doesn’t happen when you are a “9:00er” or an “11:00er.”  Our children need as many strong, Christian friendships as they can have as they go out into the world and struggle, like the rest of us, with being in the world, but not of it.
In order to meet those needs, starting Sunday, August 21, Portico Kids will have one Sunday School session at 9:00.  We've been hoping and praying that each class will have a designated lead teacher that will commit to discipling a particular age group through the end of this year.  So far six people have committed to doing just that, and we have a person committed to sub for them as needed each week!  We just need one more teacher - for the kindergarten class.  The assistant positions will continue to rotate.  At the 11:00 service, we will offer childcare for babies through four year olds.  At the 11:00 service, school age children will attend service with their families.

I know a common practice at many churches is to require parents that have children in the program to serve.  I’m not convinced that’s the best model.  I believe that if you have little kids, this is a very busy season for you, and your Portico family would like to serve you.  You need a break on Sunday mornings.  Let those of us that are empty nesters, or are single, or haven’t yet started families, help disciple the kids of Portico on Sunday mornings.  Even so, if you have young children and have the capacity, you are more than welcome to serve.  

The average upper elementary student spends roughly seven hours a week in math class, nine in language arts, and at least two hours in P. E. - not to mention extra-curricular activities.  We only have an hour and a half to teach the Gospel to our kids on Sunday morning.  Our time is precious and what we do, and how we do it matters.  Remember, we have 120+ volunteers, but we always need 25 for the 9:00 service and will need 12 for the 11:00.  Would you please pray about this?  Will you ask the Lord how He wants to use you at Portico and for His kingdom?  Maybe it's in one of our classrooms.  Maybe it isn't.  I'd love to know what you are thinking, and I'd be happy to meet with you, if you would like to discuss things further.

Change can take time and can be hard, and if this doesn’t work, we’ll adapt, modify, and act accordingly.  But what if we actually believe what we say we believe - That we’re  “Creating Churches for Future Generations?”  What if we loved the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength?  What if we gave sacrificially of our time, talents, and treasures?  What might our Portico Kids program look like?  I’m ready to dream about all the Lord can accomplish through His church!  Come dream with me!
In Christ alone,

Courtney Dillard
Portico Kids Director
[email protected]