300 East Wayne Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
(260) 422-4681

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Moving forward: Children matter most — and so do you!

We are having to make some adjustments to better accommodate our ministry with young people. As we increase our efforts to provide appropriate safety and security for our young people, we will also be increasing the visibility and accessibility of our ministries with adults!

I’ve written in the Good News and shared in our services about needing to adjust where some of our adult classes meet in order to create secure spaces for our children’s ministry. I’ve been confronted with the question, “Why?” My go to response is, “Because children matter most.” I then have to clarify, saying “children matter most” doesn’t mean no one else matters – it just means our top priority and area of focus has to be our ministry with young people.

With our location, combined with the realities of our world, this has to be THE TOP priority of our congregation. Because we do not currently have a safe and secure area, our children’s Sunday School classes have been visited by folks who have no business visiting our children’s Sunday School classes. People who should not be roaming the hallways of our ministry areas for children and youth are able to freely do so because we can currently assume they are looking for an adult class. I’m glad to report that our staff and volunteers have handled each situation quickly and appropriately.

As the pastor, who is ultimately responsible for the safety and security of our congregation, I have to emphasize that this is unacceptable. We are not going to allow this kind of scenario to play out in the future.

After meeting with some church and children’s ministry consultants, it is clear that we have to make some immediate changes. These changes may not seem to serve us directly – but Jesus never called us to serve ourselves!

This summer and fall, we are going to take steps to get our facilities, programs and ministries where they need to be when it comes to the safety and security of our young people.

Eventually, the second floor will be a children and approved children’s ministry volunteer area only.

Starting in September, the hallway with the parlor and children’s classrooms will be children and children’s ministry volunteers only. We are going to move our SEEKERS class to the first floor. We will move our ROCK class to Room 220, which some know as the old library.

Some of you may be asking, “Exactly who made this decision?” The short answer is, “the senior pastor.” This is one of the times I’m thankful for the UMC Book of Discipline because it supports the pastor making this kind of decision. It’s simply too important to debate or wait for consensus. It’s too important to wait until everyone is comfortable with change because children matter most, and so do you! These changes are in the best interest of our entire congregation.

We are lagging incredibly far behind in this area of our ministry. I’m going to be honest, this is the first church I’ve served in 25-years of ministry that does not already have an area of the building solely dedicated to the safe and secure ministry with young people.

I am aware that not everyone is going to be thrilled that we are asking them to move. However, if we are going to take seriously our ministry with young people, if we truly desire to see our church reach younger generations and their families, these adjustments are necessary and long overdue. Church, this is something to celebrate! This is a sign of hope! There are churches all over this city, state, nation and around the globe that desperately long to have conversations about reaching and serving young people. However, they aren’t having these kinds of conversations because they aren’t reaching any young people.

Let’s celebrate the fact that we get to do difficult things because we are reaching people of ALL ages! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!


  1. This is an important step. However, to make it secure, how will you keep those going to the third floor off of the second floor. Will there be fire safe doors closed to protect the children? Will there be an extra security guard to watch the 4 entrances to the second floor? This is another important step and consideration.

    • Rev. Jason Morris (Author)

      This is just a first step. Future plans do include doors for the children’s ministry hallway. Our staff and volunteers will help in monitoring the hallways, keeping folks in appropriate spaces. An extra security guard would be beneficial for several reasons. However, given budget restraints, it’s not a possibility at this point. Thanks for sharing this because it does help us think through our next steps!

  2. This is good news and well overdue. First Wayne Street is blessed with many rooms and many options. Providing our children and grandchildren with a safe, secure learning environment is a must. Pat and I attend the Seekers class and have no issue with moving. Our discussions can be held in any room. A room is just a room. I applaud this decision and hope the congregation can see the benefits of a safe, secure Children’s Ministry program.

    Alan and Pat Riebe

  3. Thank you for your leadership, once again. YES, children should be served first and always safe and secure! Children are the future of our church and our community and we should cherish that they are with us and learning. Thank you for leading this initiative!!

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