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Rev. Katie Ricke recently baptized a child who attends Kids Crossing, a daycare that is part of Beresford Zion United Methodist Church. The daycare started three years ago as a support to families with young children in the Beresford community. But today, Pastor Katie says, “The community and our congregation see Kids Crossing as our ministry.”
A couple who had been in the community about two years had two daughters that attended daycare at Kids Crossing. One of the girls is two, and one is an infant. Pastor Katie also has a son who is an infant in daycare at Kids Crossing.
After some conversation, the couple started to attend church services at Zion UMC and requested to have their infant daughter baptized.
“The fact that the family started coming to the church through the daycare was huge,” Pastor Katie said. “It takes intentionality. It is a constant conversation. We now know that the daycare is not separate from who we are as a church.”
The goal is to continually connect the kids at the daycare with Jesus. One of the ways that connection is made is through Pastor Katie time, that happens weekly at Kid’s Crossings.
Ricke describes it like this. “Pastor Katie time incorporates more of the ministry side of things. It is like a children’s moment during a church service. All the kids come to the sanctuary for music, a lesson, prayer, song, and a blessing. One time they were rumbustious, and I was going to let them go without the blessing. One boy said, ‘Pastor Katie we can’t forget the blessing.’ So I did the blessing.”
There have been some growing pains along the way. The church has an active Awana program and youth ministry. Sometimes there is a struggle for space as all of the ministries continue to grow. Space is being managed through communication between all parties: Kids Crossing daycare, Awana and youth group.
“No one room is exclusive. All rooms are for everyone to use. Every room is multi-purpose," Pastor Katie says. “It really helps us to be good stewards.”
An unanticipated ministry of Kids Crossings is reaching out to the staff. A lot of the team at Kids Crossing are not members of the church. Pastor Katie notes, “We can connect them to Jesus and spirituality. One of the staff started to come to youth group now. She was invited. It opens doors that we were not expecting.”
One of the keys to the success of the ministries for young families and the community at Beresford Zion is prayer. Before Kids Crossing began, a small group was studying “Unbinding the Gospel” and using Mark Batterson’s “40 Days of Prayer.” The Holy Spirit started moving, and soon the entire church was saying a prayer to reach out to the community as a whole, especially young people and families. The intentional prayer effort continues. A Prayer team meets every week on Saturday morning.
People see Beresford Zion as being invested and trying to serve the community. “We have a lot of opportunities. It is forever evolving. The daycare is growing and changing. The church is taking ownership,” said Pastor Katie.
Beresford Zion UMC will hold trunk or treat for the first time for the community in October. Ricke said, “We have the parking lot, and we are partnering with two other churches to make it happen. Please pray for us.”
Watch a video about how Kids Crossings started. Beresford Zion UMC was the recipient of a Breakthrough ministry grant. A grant all churches can apply for to launch a new ministry, details here.