I was looking through some old photos this weekend and came across the picture above. It's a shot from thirteen years ago that features our 2001 C.I.A. team. C.I.A. stands for "Christians In Action." C.I.A. is our Summer Discipleship/Leadership Program for 4th & 5th graders. As I looked at it, I realized that two of the eight members of that team are on our Pastoral Staff here at First NLR.
C.I.A. has been one of the most effective programs I have ever started in my 23 years of Kids Ministry! We just celebrated our 15th graduating class. The graduates of CIA go on to be some of the TOP leaders in the Youth Ministry. In fact, we have THREE pastors on our staff currently who are graduates of our CIA program. We also just launched a full-time Missionary to East Africa who was a graduate of our very FIRST C.I.A. class at my current church.
"So, what does the C.I.A. program consist of?" It's a hand-chosen team of 4th & 5th graders who have shown an aptitude for leadership. There is a stringent application process. They meet every Thursday for 6 weeks during the Summer. They commit to spending time with God in prayer and Bible study EVERY DAY for the six weeks. They fast something each week (candy, desserts, cokes, video games, secular music, etc.) On the Thursday meeting days, they pray for one hour, study/memorize God's Word for one hour (tested on 2 memorized scriptures per week), learn a leadership lesson from one of our pastoral staff, and then spend the afternoon doing "ministry projects." These projects vary from working with the homeless, stuffing the church bulletins, cleaning the church vehicles, visiting and praying with shut-ins and Nursing Homes, etc.
It is a powerful ministry experience and leadership training! It has been THE most strategic and beneficial ministry I have ever started in Children's Ministry.
What about you? Do you have a Discipleship Ministry like C.I.A.? Are you raising up the next generation of leaders? Share some of your ideas in the comments section!