Immanuel’s mission is to “Equip Saints to Make Disciples.” In this portion of our Messenger, we highlight two of our “saints,” Michael Paul and Muriel Eden-Paul, who are living out their Christian calling, successfully integrating their faith into their everyday lives.
Michael and Muriel are involved in a variety of ministry activities at Immanuel. Michael is a Boy Scout leader for Troop 61. In April, he led CPR instruction for the Boy Scouts, an event that was also open to the congregation at large. He hopes to repeat this crucial training quarterly.
For the past five years, Muriel has volunteered two days each week as an art teacher for grades 2 through 8 at Immanuel Lutheran School. Last year, she began applying her love of art in a new direction: she started Artist In Ministry, a ministry for people with art skills who wanted to apply them in ways that would support other ministries going on at Immanuel. So far, the Artist In Ministry team has created a Noah's Ark mural in the infant Child Care room, stenciled the school name and lion mascot on the Field House (gym) walls, made colorful, painted banners for Kingdom Quest, and painted the set for the Immanuel Lutheran School spring play, Nuts!.
This spring, Muriel also served as a member of the Director of Youth and Discipleship interview committee.
Michael and Muriel's love for ministry and children has been combined powerfully over the past several years as they've teamed up to lead the Sunday morning children's ministry. For three years, Michael was Immanuel's Sunday School Superintendent, and during that time Muriel taught Sunday School to children in grades 3, 4, and 5. Then, a couple of years ago, Muriel and Michael attended the First National LCMS Children's Conference in Schaumberg, Ill. Muriel and Michael were most impressed by Roger Thimer's workshop there about his Kingdom Quest curriculum. They later traveled to Omaha, Neb. to visit Thimer's home church and observe his Kingdom Quest model in action. They decided the program would be a good fit at Immanuel.
Kingdom Quest is a high-impact discipleship program for children age 2 through 5th grade. It meets Sunday mornings from 9:30-10:30 during the school year.
Last year, Kingdom Quest was held throughout the Day School classrooms; this year, it took place mainly in the Field House. Panels are used to divide kids into small groups of about five children. (Note: The two and three-year-olds' Kingdom Quest is held in the infant Child Care room).
“[Using the Field House] brings together Day School and non-Day School kids,” says Muriel, “[because] they don't have a sense of classroom ownership. The gym is neutral ground, [which] makes it special and separate from the school day.”
Kingdom Quest's attendance averages 60 children per week, a number Muriel and Michael are hoping will increase when the program resumes in fall. For next fall's Kingdom Quest, Michael and Muriel are planning to heighten the visibility of the program by adding more banners along the hallways to connect Kingdom Quest to the rest of the church on Sunday mornings. It's a move they're hoping will attract more families down to the Field House to check it out.
Michael and Muriel are also continually working to make the atmosphere at Kingdom Quest as kid-friendly as possible. The painted banners have been one way of making coming to Kingdom Quest visually enticing.
This past year, the Kingdom Quest schedule has begun with a fellowship time between services (approximately 9-9:30 a.m.), during which approximately 30 children chat and enjoy a snack.
Next, kids meet in their small groups, guided by a shepherd. A shepherd is, in Muriel's words, “a person who builds relationships with their children and shares the love of Jesus with them.” The shepherd guides the children in their group through opening activities and then leads them to the large group.
The large group presentation time is emceed by a large group presenter, who introduces the Bible story, dialogs with the puppets, and ushers in each activity. Large group time features music, puppets, games, the day's Bible lesson, and skits by the drama team (often a member of the team acts as a Bible character who presents their story in first person).
Following the large group presentation, the children return to their small groups, where their shepherd facilitates games and crafts connected with the day's lesson.
Muriel says she wants Kingdom Quest to “be sensitive to special needs kids and to meet the needs of those families.” To that end, an additional ministry within the Kingdom Quest program is PALS, a division of Immanuel's Special Needs Ministry. A PAL is someone who supports and guides children with special needs one-on-one during Kingdom Quest.
How Can You Support Kingdom Quest? Donations of snacks, juice, cups, and napkins are always welcome. If you have kids ages 2-10, bring them to Kingdom Quest on Sunday mornings. If you're in middle school or older, get hands-on in molding young lives for Christ: serve as a ministry partner as a shepherd, PAL, or large group presenter. To minister or enroll a child, contact Michael and Muriel Paul.
Becoming a Saint in Service is something every Christian can do with a humble heart and the Holy Spirit's leading. Considering new ways to put your faith in action? Check out the Catalog of Ministries for ideas (find it online at immanuelbrookfield.org/serve, or grab one from the Communication Center in the Fellowship Hall, the Information Center desk, or the Church Office). Overwhelmed by the possibilities and wondering what might best fit your unique design? Take the PLACE Workshop this fall.
Michael and Muriel encourage you to step out in faith. “Serving is a form of worship by giving of yourself,” Muriel says. “He's [God's] using you to do it.”
“Trust God and God will equip the saints,” Michael adds. “Have a willingness and God does the rest.”
Muriel's favorite passage, Colossians 3:23-24, echoes their attitude toward ministry: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord you are serving.”