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It happens all the time in our ministries—new babies are born, family dynamics change, a time of adjustment occurs, until finally a new normal is established. This month, it’s happening in my family! Lord-willing, we’ll be welcoming a new baby boy into the world at the end of October.

We’ve been busy moving furniture, painting, sewing, cleaning out closets, finishing up repair projects around the house… everything we can do to prepare the way for this new little life. But it’s not just home life that will change. This time around I’m planning to stay home with my kiddos. So I’m finishing up my work at Faith Alive and looking for someone else to take the lead in guiding this Network for Sunday school ministry.  

I’ve learned so much in my time here at Faith Alive and on the Network. At conferences on children’s spirituality and church education, and in meetings with colleagues, I’ve grown in my understanding of how kids, families, and congregations grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Under the guidance of skilled editors I’ve learned how to shape and develop curriculum. And through opportunities to visit churches, meet with Sunday school coordinators, and volunteers, and interact with you on the Network, I’ve gained such an admiration for the church in all of its variety. For the ministry you do every week in creative new ways that fit your context. For the individual concern you show for each child in your care as you plan, teach, enlist leaders, mentor, and build relationships with kids and families. This Network has meant so much to me because it’s allowed me to “visit” you in places where I couldn’t travel by plane. It’s allowed me to hear your stories and celebrate all that God is doing in our midst.

There are many people in the church who fear that our kids are leaving. That we are losing a generation, and that things will only get worse. But as I prepare to welcome a new baby into the world, I’m not afraid of that. Two things give me hope. The first is the knowledge that our world belongs to God, and he is still redeeming and transforming it through Jesus Christ. And the second is my confidence in you. I know your heart for the kids in your church—I know you’ll do what it takes to love them fully and help them know that they belong and they have a role to play in the mission of God. I’m glad to know that none of us are alone in raising our children to love the Lord. We have a community of faith surrounding us.

So thank you for all that you’ve taught me over the years and for the joy that I’ve gained from witnessing your faithfulness. I plan to stay engaged in these conversations and to write when I have time. But as I figure out the new normal, I hope one of you will step into the gap and guide this network forward to encourage us all in ministry!  


Congratulations and best wishes for you and your son! 

Thanks for all the ways you have blessed us a children's ministry leaders, Jo! And thanks for the hope-filled encouragement you've given us in this post. We will miss you! 

Beautiful words, Jolanda. Thanks for the many ways you've supported children's ministries in the CRC and beyond. Blessings on this new phase. We trust that God will nudge someone to continue the good work you've begun here on the Sunday School section of The Network.

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