Recognizing the need for online ministry, Amazing Grace Christian Church of Indianapolis, Indiana, utilized the support of two grants from the Center. What began as an effort to reach the adult members of their population through online services grew into a creative effort to keep children engaged through a new form of ministry– online Bible lessons. With support from the Center, Amazing Grace Christian Church expanded their horizons and created the “Amazing Bible Stories” video series, allowing this congregation to stay connected to the most precious part of their ministry– the children.
Amazing Grace Christian Church (AGCC) is a congregation of 100 families located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Founded by Senior Pastor Dr. Preston T Adams III and his wife Greta Adams in September 2010, AGCC shares the love of Jesus Christ by encouraging, equipping, and empowering all of God’s people to go and make disciples. AGCC has completed two grants with the Center for Congregations, each with the mission to reengage their audience using new methods during the pandemic.
“In 2020, we were blessed with a Connect Through Tech grant from the Center,” says Dr. Adams III. “It helped us purchase upgraded media equipment such as 4K cameras, a laptop, and new editing software. We have been livestreaming our services for about ten years now, but this grant took our broadcasts to top quality.”
This new and improved online worship experience allowed AGCC to continue reaching the adults within their congregation during a time in which in-person worship was deemed unsafe. However, Dr. Adams III still had a concern for the children. AGCC hoped that parents were tuning into online worship with their kids, but it was difficult to be sure. The question became: how do we reach our children?
“We live in a world where people– young and old– are fed mostly through social media platforms and media outlets,” says Dr. Adams III. “So, we thought why not create a video series of children’s Bible lessons? It could be used to teach children about God, while continuing to keep them engaged during this pandemic period.”
And that is exactly what they did. Using their second grant from the Center for Congregations, Dr. Adams III, along with assistance from grant writers Bonnita Wilson, Celia Morrissette, and Robert Dokes, proposed a plan for a children’s video series on YouTube called “Amazing Bible Stories.” This series would help children develop a biblical background knowledge and comprehension of the word of God, while providing families with the opportunity to connect with their kids through deeper conversations.
“We came together and thought: if we can create this video series and let the congregation know it’s there, it can be a permeant resource for our families,” says Dr. Adams III. “Not something that’s dated, but something that can be used over and over again.”
The “Amazing Bible Stories” series includes fifteen different videos with lessons ranging from “A Snake in the Garden” and “Noah’s Ark,” to “Little Zacchaeus” and “David & Goliath.” The creation of this series is primarily a product of the collaborative efforts between Robert Dokes, AGCC’s Director of Media, and Crystal Grundy, Dr. Adams III’s administrator and the church’s Children’s Ministry Pastor.
“We had never done something like this before,” says Dr. Adams III. “However, when Robert and Crystal sent me the first cut of the video series, I knew it was going to be something really cool for our church and our community. Robert and Crystal are both amazingly gifted individuals. The work they created together was just phenomenal.”
The release of the “Amazing Bible Stories” video series was met with similar affirmations from the congregation. Parents were thrilled to see that AGCC was progressive, caring, and visionary enough to not forget about their children. They were excited to have a new tool for keeping young people engaged during the pandemic.
“We have always had a children’s ministry in our church,” says Dr. Adams III. “We have always provided children’s education. However, this video series allowed us to give young people the opportunity to experience Jesus Christ through an approach that goes beyond just the traditional church service.”
Looking to the future, AGCC plans to reengage their congregation with the “Amazing Bible Stories” video series to increase awareness of their existence as an accessible resource for children and their families. Dr. Adams III is even considering the potential for a new video series to continue engaging with families who follow AGCC’s online ministry.
“Thanks to the Center for Congregations, we were able to successfully navigate the pandemic,” says Dr. Adams III. “It’s fair to say that without those funds, it would have been a lot harder for us to do that. These grants were transformative. They helped our church stay connected to the most precious part of our ministry– the children, and it helped me as a pastor continue to fulfill my calling to serve God’s people at all ages and levels.”