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

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Pastor Jason Morris

Why? Children matter most

The Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church has an important campaign called Children Matter Most. This initiative reminds us that “children are highly valued in God’s Kingdom. Jesus takes children seriously and harshly warns against harming them.”

This campaign urges congregations to “do all the good” we can by “promoting nonviolence, eliminating food insecurity and partnering with schools.” At First Wayne Street, we see these three areas of focus in action through our partnership with Alive Community Outreach, our support of local organizations that help alleviate hunger and our Rising Stars program at Indian Village Elementary School.

As easy as it would be to pat ourselves on the back and say, “Job well done,” we need to keep pressing forward. One of the resolutions of the Children Matter Most campaign is to “offer love that leads to fullness of life.” I am convinced that one of the key ways to offering that love is by providing safe, secure and relevant ministry for our children and youth.

Why? Because children matter most.

We have seen growing numbers of young people participating in our Sunday morning children’s church! This is something to celebrate! This is an invitation to pray that this area of ministry will continue to grow! Of course, this also presents some opportunities to make some shifts in order to provide safe and secure ministry in an appropriate space.

Why? Because children matter most.

We are going to be invited to make some adjustment to the who, what, when, where and how we do some of our programming for all ages. During Sunday school, the second floor hall where our children’s classes meet needs to be a space that is limited to only our young people and approved volunteers. If you visit our local schools, you can’t get into a classroom without going through background checks or some type of accountable check in system. Yet, we currently allow just about anyone to enter our children’s ministry area to access classes. A change is necessary. By not providing a secure area for children’s ministry, we make ourselves vulnerable for harm to take place. This will mean creating a space for a children’s check-in kiosk and moving some adult classes to other areas of the building.

Why? Because children matter most.

With that, some areas that have been historically used for adults will be repurposed for ministry with young people. We will be seeking to design spaces for young people that are appropriate for the age groups utilizing those spaces while also making our parents and children feel comfortable and safe. Some spaces that have been used for storage will need to be reclaimed for discipleship purposes. In addition to addressing needs on our second floor, we will be looking to declutter, paint and provide furnishings and equipment that are appropriate for youth ministry on our third floor.

Why? Because children matter most.

Our children and youth ministry staff, along with input from myself and Pastor Angelo, will be making a proposal to our Administrative Council to make both our second and third floor spaces more inviting for ministry with children and youth. We see these changes starting to take shape over the spring and summer so everything will be ready to go at the beginning of the next school year (August of 2023).

Why? Because children matter most.

If you would like to help make this shift happen, I would encourage you to make a financial gift
to First Wayne Street, indicating “children’s ministry” in your gift. Your giving will help with the
cost of design, supplies, equipment and more. Why? Because children matter most.


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