Family Ministries at Grace Fellowship
At Grace, our goal is to help people live Jesus-centered lives, and that goal extends into both our children's and students' ministry areas. Our Family Ministries team offers age-appropriate opportunities for children and students from six weeks old through graduating high school seniors.
For additional information surrounding our opportunities within our Family Ministries, please check out the options below.
We love to welcome families - both new and familiar – to Grace Fellowship, and we can’t wait to see you and your little ones at NEXT, our children’s ministry program. NEXT offers unique, age-appropriate environments for children between six weeks old and fifth grade. When you arrive to your campus, simply come to the NEXT area and check your child in using our computer-based system before heading into the service.
We want you to be able to participate in the service and focus your attention on worship, the message and especially on God. While you do that, we also want to see your child develop a solid faith foundation and get to know Jesus alongside other children their age in an environment that has been created just for them. Through storytelling, upbeat music, exciting videos, interactive games and partnership with you and other parents, we build relationships with kids that point them to Jesus.
Children need something different at every age, that’s why there are three options for entering NEXT.
Special Needs Buddies
Every child matters to God, so every child matters to us. If your child has special needs, we welcome your family with open arms. Trained NEXT volunteers will lovingly serve and meet your child on his or her level to teach and demonstrate the love of Jesus.
We are grateful that you trust us with your greatest treasure each week, and making NEXT a safe place for children to learn is our top priority. When you check your child in using our computer-based system, one nametag will be generated for the child to wear, another will be given to the small group leader, and you will receive a matching parent receipt. For identification and security purposes, the receipt is required for entrance into any of our NEXT environments.
In addition, every volunteer is required to complete an interview and federal background check. We also monitor every hallway with security personnel and cameras.
Our desire is for every child to experience a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We also value the relationships children form with leaders and other children in small group settings. We encourage your family to commit to attending the same service week after week so your child can be part of a group of familiar faces and grow in relationship with Jesus and other small group children.
At Grace Fellowship, we are passionate about helping children learn about Jesus in ways they understand. The NEXT environments we create and the lesson materials we develop are based on the physical, mental and emotional needs of each age group.
Creative Bible Teaching
The Bible is the most amazing book ever written! We strive to bring its stories to life through activities and discussions that keep children engaged. Our hope is that every child who comes to NEXT will begin to love God’s word and understand the value of applying it in everyday life.
Kids love fun! (And so do we!) We know that when children have fun at church, they can’t wait to come back. We are committed to creating fun ways for children to learn about Jesus so they want to come back again…and again…and again!
For babies up to 3 years old
Environment: Babies and toddlers are in a constant state of wonder that allows them to learn about God’s love through the people in their lives and the world in which we live. NEXT Jr. provides a soft, colorful environment, staffed with caring adult volunteers who communicate and display God’s love to every child.
Takeaway for children: God made me; and God loves me.
Baby dedication is an opportunity for new parents to commit to focusing on the thing that will most affect your child’s future. It’s about making a commitment to put God first in your home and to trust in Him as your source of direction as you parent and lead your family. It is also a time to share what is most important in your life with family and friends, and to ask for their prayers and support as your raise your child.
Sign-up for our next baby dedication.
Once your child is 3 years old, fully potty-trained, and ready for more, you’ll start checking into Preschool Parkway! There, your child will be assigned to a small group leader who will guide activities like music, story time, games, snack, and more!
For 3- to 5-year-olds
Environment: Preschoolers find fun and adventure around every corner, and that is exactly what they’ll experience in Preschool Parkway. With the help of dedicated volunteers, little ones will learn about God through activity stations, small groups, interactive worship, and Bible teaching.
Takeaway for children: God made me; God loves me; and Jesus wants to be my friend forever.
Placemats are monthly take-home tools that will help you reinforce the messages your child is learning in Preschool Parkway. Each month’s placemat will give you easy access to the month’s key question and bottom line, hand motions for the Bible verse, weekly question prompts, and a place for your child to draw. Fun games and activities to do together are available on the back of the placemat.
Twice a year, you and your Preschool Parkway kiddo are invited to the NEXT Preschool FX (Family eXperience)! It’s a fun-filled, themed event complete with games, snacks, music, and a true story from the Bible. Preschool FX is designed specifically for children between 2 and 5 years old, so older and younger siblings should not attend. Instead, it’s a time set aside for you to spend with your preschooler at this special age.
In early August, before your preschooler officially enters kindergarten, you’ll be invited to join us for Kindergarten Kickoff! Your child will have a chance to meet The Garage leaders, experience how The Garage service works, and become acquainted with their new environment. Because Kindergarten Kickoff is exclusively for you and your new kindergartner to prepare for The Garage, we ask that siblings not attend.
For kindergartners through fifth-graders
Environment: School-age children have the biggest imaginations! The Garage captures their creativity so they can learn about God in an interactive way. Through activity stations, small group lessons, worship, and creative Bible teaching, children will learn to jump into God's word so they can begin living out their faith at home, school and wherever life takes them.
Takeaway for children: I need to make wise choices; I can trust God no matter what; and I should treat others the way I want to be treated.
Several times throughout the year, your family is invited to NEXT FX, where Families eXperience NEXT together! This one-hour production is designed allow families to worship and learn together. The timeless message of Biblical virtues will be delivered in a relevant and high-energy way that will engage your entire family. Childcare is not available during NEXT FX because we want the whole family to attend!
Every June, before your fifth-grader transitions into middle school or junior high, you’re invited to join us for a special event that will help you and your child exit The Garage and merge into 678! At this age, students begin searching for acceptance and affirmation, and we want to provide a safe place for them to discover their own faith and find belonging in community. As you learn to navigate this new and often difficult phase, Grace Fellowship will be here every step of the way to partner with you and continue building relationships with your child that point to Jesus. Following the same model as NEXT, in 678, your child will continue to attend large group teachings before splitting into small groups to discuss real-life application of the Bible lesson.
We can’t wait to welcome your student to Grace Fellowship. Our 678 and Grace Students ministries offer programs geared specifically to middle and high schoolers, where they can grow in community and develop the foundation of the faith that will carry them through school, into young adulthood and beyond.
Please check your location for 678 service times, as they vary from campus to campus.
For students in grades 6-8
We are committed to partnering with you to reach your middle school student with the life-changing message of the Gospel and biblical truths that will lead to a Jesus-centered life.
We know this is a critical phase of life during which students will form their identities and begin to develop the fundamental beliefs and ideas that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. 678 is a safe place for your student to connect with other students and leaders to find their identity in Christ.
Please check your location for 678 service times, as they vary from campus to campus.
678 Small Groups
We encourage all 678 students to join a small group! It’s a terrific way for your student to find belonging in community and connect with other students. This school year, students from the Pickerington, Chapel, and Jefferson campuses meet each Sunday evening at the Pickerington Campus from 6:30 to 8pm, and students from our Upper Arlington Campus meet at that campus each Sunday evening from 7 to 8:30pm.
Upon completion of eighth grade, your student can continue to connect through Grace Students, where students gather in fellowship throughout the month, learn about Jesus and enjoy Christian community.
For students in grades 9-12
Grace Students is committed to making sure every ninth- through 12th-grader feels cared for and known. We encourage all Grace Fellowship high school students to connect with a Student Group. These groups allow students to find an amazing community of friends and connect with an adult leader who is personally invested in their spiritual development. In this setting, students can grow in faith, share their stories with one another and begin living a Jesus-centered life.
Student Groups are divided by grade and gender, and kick off each fall.
We encourage your high schooler to join a Student Group! It’s an awesome way to find belonging in community and connect with other students. Throughout the school year, these groups meet in students’ homes through the Columbus area on Sunday evenings from 7 – 9:00 pm.
For high schoolers only, Grace Students Gatherings is a place where ninth- through 12th-graders can have fun, learn about Jesus-centered living, and connect in a space created specifically for them. At Gatherings, students will also have an opportunity to find a Student Group to join if they don’t already belong to a student group.