Children's minister pulls strings to get children more involved

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Charlotte Reed wants children to have as many chances to take part in a worship service as adults, so she tries to incorporate skits, drama and puppets into nearly every service.

Reed is a children's minister at Bethel Assembly of God Church and is planning the third annual CAPEFEST children's ministry workshop.

CAPEFEST is an acronym for Creative Anointed Prayerful Evangelism For Equipping Servants Today. The workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 24 at the House of Hope in Cape Girardeau.

During the first year of the festival, Reed focused solely on puppetry. Then she expanded to include more ministries. This year's event includes sessions on puppetry, clowning, gospel illusions, ventriloquism and drama.

Because children are more visual learners, having skits or puppets or other lessons helps them retain the Bible stories and lessons, Reed said. She sees children's ministry as an investment in children's lives.

"They're on a different level than adults," she said. But children also want to be part of the church. Puppets or skits "make it so they can retain and learn, and it's so much more fun and interesting."

There are many other visual and entertaining elements to a child's life, from computer games to videos and TV shows "that can lead them from God's word," Reed said. Adding a younger dimension to a worship service can show children -- and even adults --that Christianity can be fun, she said.

Registration for CAPEFEST is still open. There is a registration fee, and group rates are available. For information, contact Reed at 339-7274 or by mail at Puppet Power, 6228 County Road 621, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701.

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