In 1993, Faith and I had one baby just a few weeks old when we first visited Granger. We drove to the movie theater behind Service Merchandise off Grape Road (now called Cinemark 6 on University Drive), walked in and dropped off our baby with some capable adults who had spread cushions and sheets over the cinema floor under the screen in theater #5. A couple months later, Faith and I began volunteering in the nursery. Laura Meyer was our leader, and I remember my amazement of how she rallied the adults and talked to us about the vision of the church while we were crawling on the floors playing with babies.
I soon learned that my calling in life was not to work in the nursery--but it is only because I found a new calling: Populating the nursery. I discovered a unique ability to make babies! And every week for more than 19 years, we have had at least once child in Granger's children's ministry. At first it was called Kingdom Kids, then TNT (two's and three's), then All Stars Ministry, and most recently GKM (Granger Kids' Ministry).
This summer, our youngest will move out of Kids' Ministry and enter Granger's Student Ministry. And so one era ends as we will no longer have a Stevens' in our children's ministry.
I couldn't be more grateful for what the leaders of GKM have done to pour life and learning into our children over the years. As I look at each of them continuing to take steps toward Jesus, I am confident that is due in great part to the wonderful teachers they had in each phase of their church life.
- When the nurseries used to be located upstairs (where the current Connections), the teachers begged me to allow them to put rubber bumpers on all the brick column corners. They were concerned for safety--but our budget wouldn't allow it. Wouldn't you know that on the first weekend the nurseries opened, Megan was the first to fall and end up with bloody lip from the sharp corner.
- Heather did a fish-flop off an early changing table (before we had protective sides) and became acquainted with the tile floor.
- I had the privilege to take some children's leaders (including Sheila Beeson, Kristi Nate and Brian Davis) on a tour of some amazing facilities as we began dreaming possibilities for our Children's Center in 2000. We came back and convinced hundreds others to buy into the vision of transforming the "sand basement" into an amazing award-winning learning space for kids.
- I had a hand in the design of all the kids rooms, but my favorite was one that no longer exists--the "Construction Zone" room which used to serve our preschool kids (see picture).
- GCC had 300 kids coming regularly before we ever had a paid staff person working with kids. Up until then, it was done 100% through volunteers. Amazing!
Although our youngest child is about to move up, my prayers and support will long be with Ted Bryant and the amazing leaders of Granger's Kids Ministry!