It was an unusual Sunday for Trudy Johnson. She and her husband came to church and ended up sitting in a different section. Citylight had been home for her and her husband for a few years. After the sermon, she heard an announcement from stage about volunteers needed for the Wednesday kid’s club ministry (Club). She had served a meal for Club a few times and was familiar with it, but never that interested in serving the kids at that capacity. Noticing the director was sitting behind her, she turned around and said she would help. Never did she think serving the kids would change her the way it did.
“I turned around and told Sarah Minturn (the director) I would help,” Trudy described the moment. “I didn’t know what I was getting into. The need sounded desperate. I knew God steered me to say ‘yes.’ I wasn’t super excited about it at the time. I mean I had taught Sunday school for years before attending Citylight and loved it, however, I was also ready to step away and be done serving in that way. Turning around and telling Sarah I would help...that was a total God thing. Now, I see those kids at Club as my kids.”
That first Wednesday at Club for Trudy felt like pandemonium and complete chaos. She immediately began to doubt and couldn’t see any opportunity for seeds to be planted. Come to think of it, for anything to be planted.
“I felt like we were all spinning our wheels,” Trudy shared. “All the personalities and all the crazy. But shortly after, some things were figured out and falling into place. Like a good curriculum, the kids got to know us better, and we were more comfortable. The team and I have had good training. Training on the curriculum but also on how to deal with kids from varied backgrounds. My husband and I have raised three daughters and thought in the beginning that I knew how to do this, but our kids didn’t have these circumstances. The ongoing training has helped me so much.”
A typical Wednesday the kids get picked up in the neighborhood by the loyal van drivers in the Citylight vans and bringing them to Midtown. Trudy and the team spend time playing games with the kids and chatting about their week. A meal is supplied and graciously served by various City Groups and after eating, the kids are split up into their different classes. There they dive into the lesson and close with a full group summary and prayer.
“It’s mainly just showing up for these kids consistently,” Trudy said earnestly. “Showing the kids that there are people who care about them. Over time, that trust has been built with the kids and that’s where the opportunity is...they start to not just hear but actually want to learn. For most of the kids, it’s not just going through the motions, many are beginning to really be interested in knowing this guy that we read and talk about. They want to know who Jesus is. They love the adventures in the Bible, even in the Old Testament. We try to make it fun and they seem more and more captivated by Jesus.”
“the volunteers give the kids the answer and then show them in the Bible where it’s found. We go over questions like ‘How do we know God loves me?’ ‘How do we know we are forgiven?’ The kids get it, and they are starting to understand the way to heaven. They started out thinking a person gets to heaven by doing lots of good things. Now, they understand that the way to heaven is JESUS! They understand that Jesus gives true peace. It’s not a giant miracle here but instead lots of baby steps that add up to show that God is definitely doing a work.”
Trudy has also been learning about God and who she is in Him. She’s grown closer to Christ and tangibly feels God’s grace over her in a way that she has never felt. She’s praying more and trusting God more. While never being shy to share her faith, she prays for God to place people in front of her that need to hear about HIM! She’s also gained a much bigger family with the other leaders and the kids. Great friendships have been made.
“I now seriously look forward to going to Club each week,” Trudy shared with assurance. “I know the kids count on seeing all of us. I know that the kids just need people to show up and so I feel like I don’t want to let them down. Also, I love seeing the way they are growing in their faith. As they become comfortable with me and the other leaders, we are noticing them asking the right questions, and their faith is growing. I feel in ways that they are ‘my kids.’ They have helped me. My eyes have been opened and I trust more. They’ve also taught me to not be afraid of trying new things and that God always has a better plan than we do.”
As Trudy and the team look ahead to the next semester, they pray for others to continue stepping into serving at Club. Trudy’s personal prayer and invite to others is this:
“My prayer is that the kids would really know Jesus in their hearts. As they grow and as they move on, that their faith increases. The growth you see in the kids is so much fun and encouraging. Even after the first year I thought I wouldn’t want to come back for a second year but then, I ran into some of the kids over the summer and they asked me “Miss Trudy, are you going to be there next year?” I said yes. I would encourage others to follow the Lord’s call to serve. When you serve these kids, you begin to realize quickly that you are getting way more out of it then what you think you will.”
Never did Trudy think serving the kids at Club would change her life, her faith walk, nor her family. If it wasn’t for Club, kids in the neighborhood wouldn’t have people sharing Jesus on a weekly basis and in a loving and nurturing space. For Trudy, her family would not have grown and included kids she now calls her own. There was definitely a reason God placed her and her husband in an unfamiliar section of church that Sunday morning.
Club is in search of caring adults who want to invest their lives in kids from all kinds of backgrounds so that they can meet, imitate, and share Jesus! This is a fruitful ministry with hungry kids who come for a meal, God's word and supportive relationships. If you are free on Wednesday nights and want to check it out, please email email@example.com.