Written by Hannah Stinson, KidzWorld Assistant
I have attended NewSpring church since I was two years old. It has been like a second home to me. Looking back, I can still remember the toddler classroom I went to, the same playhouse is still in there today, the animal printed changing room, and the volunteers who watched me. I also remember my first time going to G-force (now Route 252). Some of my best friends were found in elementary school. I remember when the changes came, and the area then became known as KidzWorld. It made me nervous when my parents informed me that the church had decided to change its name from Messiah Baptist to NewSpring. I thought it meant all of my friends were leaving and everything was changing. I wanted things to stay the same because I didn’t like change. I read a verse, Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” My parents explained that the changes taking place were a good thing. It was happening so we could grow as a church and bring other people the news of God’s love. I still didn’t quite know what they meant, but I continued to attend KidzWorld, make new friends, invite other kids, and grow closer with God.
When it came time for me to move into middle school, the nerves were real. This was junior high! Everyone said that these were the years when you discover who you are, what you were meant to do, things you’re interested in and when you discover new friends. I honestly don’t think I would have made it through middle school in one piece if it weren’t for my amazing small group leaders. They were the people I was most excited about seeing every weekend! I could tell them anything and they would know just the right thing to say to me. They prayed with me about everything, big or small. Even today, if I feel nervous about something, I will call them and ask them to pray for me or just talk for a bit. They encouraged me to start volunteering with the younger kids, to be a role model in their lives. I don’t think anyone can comprehend what an impact small group leaders can have on kids. They were a huge help in my life.
Now, it’s my turn to make a difference in students’ lives. Currently, I am finishing up my senior year of high school. I found my place working with elementary kids in Route 252. Interacting with the younger kids at church has helped me lean towards majoring in elementary education one day. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be able to work in the place I enjoy the most. Being around the kids every weekend has reminded me of how important it is to be an example of Jesus. I want His love to shine through me to others. The best part of my week is seeing kids love other kids and encourage each other because they want to live like Jesus did. They are excited to come to church and invite their friends and learn about how God died for each and every one of them so they could all have a place in heaven with Him. They are the next generation and I am so blessed to be able to invest in them, just like my small group leaders did for me.