Over the next few weeks, we are spotlighting different ministries at Brook Hills to inform as well as to celebrate how God is working within our faith family. To read our post on Preschool Ministry, click here, and for the one on our Worship Team, click here.

On a sunny day at the Brook Hills playground last week, I sat down with John Tice, Phyliss Wright, Allison Turner, and Nathan Graham from BH's Children's Ministry to find out what exactly goes on in the third floor of the church.

BH Women: What drew you to Children's Ministry? Why this age group?

John: It is inarguably the greatest work on earth. Here's why. If our goal is discipleship (and it is), then the best time to shape a person's understanding, love, and heart towards fear of God is when this person is a child. It's a prime time for discipleship. Plus, children's ministry is fun. Kids are real with no pretense.

Nathan: They're very impressionable.

BH Women: What does a typical Wednesday or Sunday look like on the third floor?

Phyliss: Wednesday nights are IGNITE where we have a huge missions focus. The tag line for IGNITE is "Kids with Jesus on His great mission."

We want them to know that they can and should be missionaries where they are as well as look ahead to where God might lead them as adults. And we provide them with opportunities to meet real missionaries.

John: Sometimes, they (the missionaries) come here, or we provide exposure through media such as Skype. We particularly focus on missionaries who are from Brook Hills and who have kids this age.

Phyliss: During Wednesday nights, the kids take time in their small groups to pray for them - and they are serious about praying for our missionaries!

John: Wednesday nights are casual, no chairs, and we have an energetic game time-

Nathan: Which is a kid favorite!

Phyliss: It's a John and Nathan favorite. They play as hard as the kids do.

Nathan: With Kids Choir rehearsal also on Wednesday nights this past month, one sister went to Kids Choir while her brother went to IGNITE. His reason for choosing IGNITE over Kids Choir? "Choir doesn't have game time!"

BH Women: What all happens on Sundays?

John: On Sundays, our emphasis is on Scripture, for sure. We're using a three year curriculum from Gospel Project that gives an overview of the whole Bible. Every lesson is a gospel emphasis.

Allison: The kids see each of the stories - how they tie together and to the gospel, which is not how I learned all of the Bible stories as a kid. I was taught them as individual, stand-alone stories and didn't see how they all connect together as one larger story.

John: We're building a high regard for Scripture. For example, we emphasize bringing Bibles with us to church. For the most part, we're above 85% each week, but our goal is 95%. And if we reach that goal, we have Heavenly Donuts...

We also make a big deal about Scripture memory, and we want them to get the application of what they're memorizing. And we make it fun.

BH Women: How do you make it fun?

Nathan: We invite kids up on stage to recite their memory verses. If they quote them correctly, they go to the treasure chest for a prize. And when they recite the verses, the room explodes like they just made a touchdown.

Phyliss: Like Alabama just beat Auburn!

John: And the kids participate more in the service through the spoken Word.

Phyliss: We also have a time of song and praise - with hand motions because it's good to move when praising God.

These kids truly worship - even without planned motions. Even some of our Faith Trainers (small group leaders) have commented how they wish they could be as free in worship in the Big Room as they are in 304.

Our 5th graders lead us in worship on Sunday mornings. We have three teams of boys and girls who rotate leading and come early enough to rehearse.

Nathan: They also help run the sound booth and run water to the rooms for snack time.

Phyliss: And we can't forget our Welcome Team. They rotate every week with one team standing at the main desk to check in guests and walk new parents and kids to the rooms. We have some at the check-in stations to assist parents. They're so faithful, and it's great to have them!

And we have a great group of subs - to the point that we never have to worry about having small groups covered. We even have "floaters" who will just ask, "Mrs. Phyliss, where you need me today?"

John: At this point, all of our serving positions are filled. When I first got here, we had 56 volunteer staff. Now, we have 106 serving in Children's Ministry.

BH Women: Tell me more about what y'all do with Scripture memory.

John: We've selected verses for each grade, and we were guided to choose these verses by three of Paul's pastoral prayers (things he prayed for the churches). These bullet points became the emphases. They focus on being mature, hopeful, and grounded in the faith and are Christ-centered, with many being Christ's words.

The boys and girls are exposed to these verses for nine weeks because we want to let life unfold while these verses are in front of them. We also have a built in review system by reviewing the verses on Sunday mornings. For example, when a first grader quotes one of their verses, they're rehearsing them for all the other kids who memorized that verse in first grade.

Allison: It's really cool. We'll ask if anyone remembers a verse from the section before, and they do!

Phyliss: We even had a fifth grade child quote all of her fourth grade verses. She rattled them off like an auctioneer.

BH Women: How do you help equip parents to talk their kids about salvation?

John: When something prompts conversation with their child, we encourage them to listen. We also provide a moms and dads with a printed resource (to help them talk to their kids about the gospel). Once a child goes through this with their parent(s), we as a staff have a conversation with them just to affirm them in their faith.

Starting this next school year, we'll have a class offered two times a year for parents to attend that addresses salvation, baptism, and communion.

Phyliss: We also have a guide to help the kids write out their testimony. We adapted it from the one for the church, but it's more kid-friendly.

Nathan: And parents are involved in the Bible memory program. Kids quote their verses to their parents, and the parents sign cards letting us know that the kids have memorized that verse.

John: We're trying to link church with home and to reinforce that parents are the primary disciplers of their kids.

BH Women: What types of things does Children's Ministry have coming up?

Phyliss: Rock the Block Easter, Summer, and Fall.

John: Which, in a nutshell, is the Brook Hills faith family decentralized. It's intentionally not on campus but scattered to meet in neighborhoods.

Allison: More of the church is involved than if you actually met at the church.

John: Last year, over 1500 children came to Rock the Block Summer.

Nathan: With the smaller sites, more ongoing relationships are formed where our congregation actually lives.

John: Rock the Block is weeklong - 4-5 days, and you can choose one of the four weeks in June to have it.

For Rock the Block Easter, this is something that would just be on a Saturday morning.

With Rock the Block Fall, this could be either a Friday or Saturday night thing.

Phyliss: The purpose of RTB Fall and Easter is to encourage continued gospel conversations that began in the summer. We want our folks to be intentional with their neighbors and use these activities to spawn conversations with them throughout the year.

John: Because neighbors are more likely to see the church through a member who lives across the street rather than the church building on 119.

BH Women: And we can't forget about Kids Camp, right?

Phyliss: Oh, it's the most fun week of the entire year!

John: Where else can you swim in a green lake or pond?

Phyliss: And throw up all the ice cream you ate (with sprinkles on top)?

A cool story from camp last year: we had a girl that was homesick the entire week. That first night, I gathered with her in her room to pray for her, and every night we went through this with this one girl. But on the last night, she ended up praying with one of her friends who trusted in Christ, and she told us how she was so thankful that she had stayed instead of going home early.

It's an example of how our kids are making disciples, how they are disciple-makers.

Nathan: This year, we're going to camp June 16-19 to Student Life for Kids.

Allison: At Shocco Springs.

Phyliss: And they're building a new slide for this year. It's 90 feet tall and called "Wet Willie." It even has a two slides, so you can race.

And we can't forget the nasty suckers and liquid ice creamy that were favorites of the kids last summer.

BH Women: Liquid ice cream?

Phyliss: The soft serve ice cream machine is used so much that the ice cream doesn't get a chance to freeze.

Allison: It's ice cream soup.

And we also do Family Game Night each year. I haven't experienced it yet [Allison just joined our staff back in November].

The kids who have completed Route 66 (memorized the books of the Bible) can come early with a VIP early pass, play games, and do everything for free. We have inflatables...

Phyliss: And carnival-type games and some things where parents and Faith Trainers compete...

Nathan: And face-painting, Steel City Pops..

Phyliss: Duck pond, ring toss, cotton candy...

John: This year, I'm hoping to get a backhoe of dirt for the boys to just play in.

Phyliss: And the girls too!

BH Women: Is there anything else you would want our church to know about BH Kids?

Nathan: It's for 1st-5th graders.

John: It's a great place to serve, and if you're interested in serving, contact Allison at aturner@brookhills.org or at (205) 313-7745.

For more with BH Kids, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and check out their website.