Dear friends,

Kids matter. What we do with kids matters, too. Jesus tells us this in Mark 10: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them – for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth: you must become like a child in order to enter the kingdom of God.” Learning to become like a kid is a journey, one of the hardest – and most exciting – that we get to experience together in the church.

For the last ten years as your Director of Children’s Ministry, it has been an absolute joy to partner with you all on this journey. And like all journeys, this one has reached a crossroads. My wife Kathy has joyfully accepted a new job as Director of University and Young Adult Ministry at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, a role that combines her passion for college-aged students with her training in teaching the Bible with an eye toward the marginalized. I am incredibly proud of her, and I know that she will continue to do wonderful things in her new role.

This means that I get the chance to be the primary caregiver for my kids Beckett and Orin, now 6 and 2, for the next season of life. In order to be the best dad that I can be, then, I will be ending my time here at LOPC this November – both so that I can be fully devoted to my kids for this chapter, and so that the ministry here can continue to flourish under someone who can give it their full time focus.

It is bittersweet to be leaving this community. You all have been such a huge support to me and my growing family over the last decade, and goodbyes are always hard. Luckily, we’ve got some time; I’ll be transitioning out over the next few months to help get the program years for The Garden and Kids Rock started and to give the team time to start looking ahead to the future.

And a special word about that: I want you to know just how amazing your Children’s, Youth, and Family teams are here. In my twenty years in children’s ministry, I have never served with a more thoughtful, gracious, theologically-centered, and outward-focused team than Lori, Susan, Keris, Allison, and Pastor Jaime. They are absurdly good at what they do, and I can’t wait to see what they are able to accomplish next.

Over these next months, there are a few last ways that we can partner together:

  • Pray: First, we’d love for you to be in prayer, both for the next chapter of this ministry and the next season of life for my family. God is speaking to us in these quiet moments about where Children’s Ministry should head next, and I know the team would love to be in prayer with you in this time. If you have a specific prayer request you’d like to share, you can email the wonderful Susan Wentworth at Susan@LOPC.org to let us know.
  • Serve: One of our bedrock values is that our kids need a cloud of witnesses surrounding them to give them love, stability, and support – and they’ll need that more than ever during this period of transition. If you’ve served in Children’s Ministry before and miss being with the kids, we’d love to have you back. If you’ve always wondered what it might be like and never done it, come have a conversation with us about what you can expect. Our kids need you, so email the fabulous Lori Robinson at Lori@LOPC.org if you can volunteer this year.
  • Talk: Transitions can be hard for kids, especially after the last eighteen months we’ve had. Remind your children that they have a whole community of people who love them and care for them, and even though it can be sad to say goodbye, God is with us in every part of our journeys. If you or your kids have something you’d like to talk about, I would love to hear from you – you can email me at Ryan@LOPC.org to set up a time to get together.

I have so loved being your Director of Children’s Ministry. And I am so excited to hear what God does through this ministry next. Remember that I love you very much, and God loves you even more than that – so don’t forget, no matter what happens next: be fantastic.