Kuna Kids Reach Beyond Children’s Story

The picture of children’s ministries is changing at the Kuna (Idaho) Church. It is literally in the hands of the children themselves as they put on headsets and operate the cameras that provide live streaming video of the worship service to the church’s digital campus every Sabbath.

When Carter Griggs, 9, is asked about working with the video ministry, he says he gets tingly. "Running a camera is kind of fun. I get to see everyone. It feels good to do this for the church, helpful," he says.

Children’s story has traditionally been recognized as the kids’ part of the worship service. And while the story remains a staple at Kuna Church, some of the children are becoming the story themselves as they serve the Lord and have fun while doing it.

“The spiritual development of our children has always been a core value at the Kuna Church,” says Randy Maxwell, pastor. “We are constantly looking for ways to engage our young people in service so they will know that belonging to God’s church is not passive but active. But even I was caught by surprise the first Sabbath morning I looked up to see someone under 4-feet-tall on camera.”

“I love doing it,” says 11-year-old Ben Johnson. “It is so much fun, and I am learning a lot.”

When asked by his mother why he decided to run a camera at church, Johnson responded, “Because I saw the camera I run empty for two weeks in a row. I thought, 'That's something I could do.' So I offered to help.”

The Kuna Church launched its own live streaming “Kuna Cast” ministry, in 2011 as an outgrowth of their Community Conversations evangelism programming. Today there is a loyal following of Kuna’s ministry online that includes viewers from as far away as Australia. The crew chief of the ministry is 21-year-old Joshua Fieldstad. Michael Whitson, 16, does everything from switch operator to graphics and sound mixing.

The church had three cameras, and some Sabbaths they didn’t have enough adult camera operators, so they left one or two in a fixed position. The kids weren’t having it. They’ve stepped up and are doing a fine job. The church family is proud of what these children are doing.

"It's fun getting to watch the pastor and film people,” says Emma Carrick, 10. “It's also fun participating in church and helping people. It makes me feel good that I'm helping the church. I feel like I'm helping spread God's Word. I hope Jesus is proud of me."

Emma’s 9-year-old brother, Vincent, says, “I feel important. Even though I’m 9, I can still do the things God wants me to do. I think Jesus is glad that I'm helping."

Eight-year-old Jocelyn Yeager sometimes runs the PowerPoint slides for the online viewers. “I like running the PowerPoint for the broadcast,” she says, “because I enjoy the music and the sermon. I love being part of the service.”

Sean Carrick, Emma's and Vincent’s father and a camera operator, says, "If kids are involved and stay involved, they are more likely to stay in the church when they are older.”

Ellen White once wrote, “With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Savior might be carried to the whole world!” (Education, p. 271). At Kuna Church, this training is clearly in focus.

Featured in: December 2013