To help the little ones in City Harvest Church stay connected, Pastor Eileen Toh and her team from Harvest Kidz launched online Bible lessons. We talk to Pastor Eileen about how the online engagement began.
Adults are not the only ones affected when the church services go online. The little ones are also missing their teachers and friends from church. One mother reported that, while watching City Harvest Church’s online service for the first time on Feb 15, her daughter exclaimed, “What about children’s church? Is there an online service too?”
The little ones can’t Zoom-meet their church pals; they have no social media to rant on, no memes to bring them a smile… how could they stay connected to the church family?
Pastor Eileen Toh, who oversees Harvest Kidz, City Harvest’s children ministry tells City News how Harvest Kidz keeps in touch with the little ones. She also shares some of the things she has been doing for her 5-year-old son, Kairos, now that she has more time at home.
How did Harvest Kidz online come about?
I asked God what we can do to connect with our kids, and God spoke to me to do online Bible lessons and post them on social media. When the main church started its live service, some parents texted me to ask what we were going to do for the children.
Our first series was on the armor of God. I believe that if all the children know the parts of the armor of God and use it as a prayer guide before they sleep, they will develop strong spiritual immunity. They will learn to stand and be strong at all times.
The second series came about when I was praying and I saw the word “care”. I felt that God wants the kids and parents to know that He cares for them, and that they need not be afraid. His blanket of love is over us.
We also created a simple quiz for the children to participate in as we wanted them to understand what they watched. Those who send in correct answers stand a chance to win a prize. So I was glad that many families have logged in to watch these lessons and participated in the quiz.
Recently, we also incorporated a simple praise and worship segment in the videos so the children can have a fuller experience of church service wherever they are.
The current series we are on is “Lent” because Easter just passed. That series is on the importance of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
I think that this season has compelled my staff and to be comfortable in front of the camera. When we first stopped having cell group meetings, we had to do our vision-sharing online. That was the start of us sharing our ministry devotions online to encourage our workers.
We have learned that the need is the call. We had to get out of our comfort zone. We were clueless about what to do but thank God for the CHC media team for their guidance and help! Thank God for our own Harvest Kidz staffer, Jackie who is very tech-savvy and rose to the occasion to do our filming.
Besides the online lessons, we also sent out care cards to all our children to convey our love and prayers for them. Our volunteers and church workers are also calling the children weekly now that we are unable to visit them. We will pray with them and encourage them, telling them that God is watching over them! Every week, we continue to connect with 1,300 to 1,400 households through the calls we make.
It has been a very beneficial experience for the staff as a whole. We are still learning and improving, constantly thinking of ways to engage our kids and volunteers even more!
What have you been doing since church staff began working from home?
When we were told to work from home on alternate weeks, I took the opportunity to involve myself in Kairos’ daily routine, which is something I missed when I am away at work. I intentionally stepped into his every day and involved myself in many activities with him to understand what he thinks and how he responds to situations.
We have also been doing devotions and praying together as well. With this season of staying at home, I get to see him while I work! One night, he shared with me that he has a bad habit of blame-shifting. He told me how he blames Auntie Nica (my domestic helper) even though he knows he made a mistake!
I was surprised that that came out of my 5-year-old but through that sharing, it gave me a chance to reach out to God for His power within Kairos to help him to change. Praise God!
This season is not wasted as we get to do the things that we won’t usually have time to do with our kids and family. Take time to build on the spiritual and character aspects at home especially areas that have been weakened or broken down. Just like how Nehemiah rebuilt the walls that have broken down, we can rebuild our families again.
When a family is strong, the church which forms the bigger family will become stronger!
What is your rhema word for this season?
At the beginning of the year, I was praying and God showed me a giant umbrella. He asked me to get under it and He said, “Get into my divine protection and my covering over you. “
At that time, COVID-19 had not happened yet but I felt God preparing me. I told the church staffers from Harvest Kidz, Dialect, JAMs Services to get under this big umbrella and claim His divine protection and blessings over our lives and our loved ones!
Harvest Kidz’s vision for this year is taken from Psalm 46: 10, “Be still and know that I am God”. The Greek word for “be still” is the word “Rapa” which means to cease from striving and to let go.
This has been our anchor verse as a ministry and we will continue to trust Him for He is our God, no matter the situation.
Naturally, this pandemic is not a good thing. But in the spiritual realm, I am anticipating a mighty sweep of God’s revival. I am expecting Him to move on our behalf as we get in touch with the spiritual, grow stronger in our spirit and see how God awakens our nation.
What is your prayer for the church?
My prayer is for families to come together, not just on the digital platform, but parents enjoying physical activities with their kids and sharing real moments of God’s presence with them.
At the end of the day, we can’t visit every home, but each household will be able to have a unique family experience hosting the “ark of God” in their homes and make God come alive for the oldest to the youngest one at home.
I think this is the season we can build our family up spiritually and personally take on the role of the shepherd to bring in the spiritual disciplines at home. We can all learn to encounter God on our own.