Dear Peace Church Family,  

At Peace Church, it goes without question that children’s ministry has been not just a deep strength, but a lifelong love of our church since we were planted over 50 years ago. That will continue to be the case for our church for the next 50 years and beyond!  

All living things that are healthy will grow and adapt, and we are no different. We will continue to refine and strengthen the ways in which we minister to our children. Our growth as a church and the season of COVID-19 has allowed us the opportunity to think beyond our normal systems as we look to our vision and programming structure for Children’s Ministry. 

I am very excited to share what our Children’s Ministry programming structure will look like starting this fall. While this does include some necessary changes, I am nothing but excited about bringing the best of who we are and coupling it with our big vision for the future. 

Starting this fall, we will double down on Wednesday night programs for Children’s Ministry, and we will do the same for Sunday nights as we look to Student Ministry. 

We will move Bold Boys and Brave Girls from every other Wednesday night to every Wednesday night. Student Ministries will remain the Sunday night focus for our programming.  

In September, we will unveil a new Middle School Ministry that will reach 6th to 8th graders, and we will continue the High School Ministry that we know and love. This gives those ministries the entire campus on Sunday nights as they continue to grow.  

On Wednesday nights this fall, we will see Bold Boys and Brave Girls focus on grades 1st to 5th grade every Wednesday night. We are going to take the gospel-rich teaching from 5th and 6th Grade Youth Group as well as the dynamic approach to Bible memorization of Caraway, and use those as defining markers of our Children’s Ministry programming moving forward.  

While this growth does mean saying goodbye to 5th and 6th Grade Youth Group as well as the Caraway Street Ministry, we are going to take the best of both of those ministries as we strengthen our new programming paradigm. 

As Peace Church continues to grow, we need to make sure we have the room to continue to grow, and consolidating our ministries is one of the ways that we both strengthen our approach and create space!  

Rather than trying to cram every growing ministry into the same facility on the same night, this means that Wednesday night Children’s Ministry and Sunday night Student Ministry will have, for the first time, room to grow in our church facility! We are excited to see the new heights these ministries will reach. 

Did you know that if we were to re-launch Caraway Street right now – we currently have twice the number of kids in the Caraway age range! We’d be at 200% capacity in the Caraway Theatre! Wow!! Now that is a way for a ministry to end well – by outgrowing itself and helping to give birth to new ministry.  

We are forever thankful for the years Caraway Street gave to the ministry of our church. The great strengths of Caraway will continue to have impact on the ministry to our children. As this season of Children’s Ministry comes to a close, here is what Ernie and Darlene DeGroote, who started Caraway over 40 years ago have to say:

I was 34 years old when I began serving the Lord on Caraway Street! For the past 10 years, I had saved the scripts I had written, so this ministry could go on when I step down. After 40 years, the Lord told me it was time. I had so many plans that “I” had made for it to go on without myself and the other 40-year cast members. After COVID-19 and our church growth (Praise the Lord!) and other walls (such as the overwhelming attendance) made it impossible, I am totally at peace in knowing God is the one in charge, and He has something else, wonderful, in store for our Peace Church kids. It has been a privilege to pour everything that God has shown me over my lifetime into these precious little souls (from knowing God, to making disciples, to being kind). What a blessing to work with this dedicated staff, which have become “family.”  

Thanks, Peace Church, for giving us this space that we have now outgrown! The Caraway staff ALL agree, it’s been an awesome 40-year run and it’s been an honor to serve our Lord on the street!! 

In Christ’s service! 

Ernie & Darlene 

As we’ve been saying, “God is on the move at Peace Church.” He’s growing our church. We are reaching more people than ever before with the gospel. “What” we do will never change, but “how” we do that inevitably continues to adapt until Jesus returns. 

Peace Kids will continue to be our Sunday Morning program that ministers to kids up to 4th grade, but starting this fall, Sunday Nights will be dedicated to students and Wednesday nights will focus on children.  

Every close of a season comes with mourning, but I am thrilled about the new day dawning at Peace Church!  

On Mother’s Day this year, in addition to honoring the mothers in our church – we will also highlight our vision for Children’s Ministry moving forward. It’s going to be a great morning to celebrate mothers, and cast vision for the future as we honor the past that has led us here.  

In Christ, 

Pastor Ryan Kimmel + Children’s Ministry Team