SPL KIDS – Children’s Ministry

The SPL Kids Team is led by Jennifer Power, Director of Children’s Ministry, along with Bethany Force and Jennifer Suckow, Assistant Directors. Our team has a goal of creating disciples through the building up of families and the equipping of children to grow in Christ throughout their lives through study, worship, serving, the building of supportive community, and through other spiritual disciplines following the example of Jesus Christ.

Nothing is more precious than the gift of our children. Their unconditional love and trust are remarkable. Jesus reminds us, “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”. Pouring into the faith life of the next generation is an important and worthwhile investment. Here is a list of the programs, classes, and other venues specifically designed with that in mind.

Get Connected with SPL KIDS

The SPL Kids children’s ministry area is located on the second floor of the building. It is a structured learning environment in which children have the opportunity to explore, create, sing, and discover God’s great love for them through Montessori based Godly Play. All children from ages 3 years old through 6th grade are welcome to attend the education classes that are designed just for their age level! Most classes meet in the SPL Kids area (second floor) or as designated.

Godly Play is a Montessori-based children’s spiritual formation program designed to help children use Christian language to make meaning. The unique class setup helps children deeply enter the formative stories of our faith. It is founded on the belief that even the youngest children have experiences of God, lacking only the language needed to make meaning of those experiences. Meaning is made for children primarily through the interplay of story and play in a safe and thoughtfully constructed environment.

Godly Play rooms are special places – places that tell children “this space is for you.” Godly Play is discovery-based, proven to help children learn on a deeper level. The whole program is designed to communicate to children just how significant they are to the church and to the Kingdom of God.

The room has only two adults – a Storyteller and a Door Person (see below for a fuller description of these two positions). These adults sit on the floor or on a chair to remain at the level of the children which helps support the community of children. The children are greeted by name when they enter the room, sit in a circle with the story teller, experience a story, have an opportunity to work with their chosen materials, put away their materials, and share a feast together which strengthens the community and helps prepare children to experience the Lord’s Supper. They then are called to leave one at a time and receive an individualized blessing from the storyteller.

This whole process communicates value to children. Children are so much more than the future of the church – they are the church today. They have experiences of God that are real, full, and vibrant. They wrestle with the same existential struggles of worth, freedom, being alone, and death as the rest of us. Godly Play meets children where they are, communicates value, and gives them the language they need to navigate the joys and challenges of life.

SPL KIDS: Worship

Saturday 6:00pm Worship (released at offering time – 3 years through 4th grade)
Sunday 10:30am Worship (released at offering time – 3 years through 4th grade)
Children who plan to participate in SPL Kids: Worship should be checked in by a parent/guardian prior to the start of worship at the SPL Kids Check-In Station located in the Fellowship Area

6 weeks – 3 years (Nursery): Bible Time. The nursery is open for the duration of all our weekend services, but during the latter portion of each service, the children engage in a time of praise, Bible story time, and prayer.

During SPL Kids Worship, children partake in a condensed version of the Godly Play curriculum, either experiencing a story or participating in work time. Occasionally children will also receive a time of prayers and feast.

SPL KIDS: Sunday Education Time

Meets weekly on Sundays from 9:15-10:15 am

Building Blocks (Room 203): This special class is for caretakers and children (birth-3 years) to attend together. Experience the love of a supporting, multi-generational community of families and teachers (who are experts in childhood development). The focus of this class is the spiritual formation of families and young children. Parents/Caretakers can come in with their children at any time while the class is meeting.

3 Years – Kindergarten (Room 212): Children explore the Bible through story, songs, and age appropriate activities. This class includes free play, story time, and snack. Children often experience the story for the day by reenacting the story themselves. They are currently working through the New Testament stories found in the Beginner’s Bible.

1st-4th Grade (Great Room): In this class, children experience a complete session of Godly Play. The storyteller presents the story for the day and then the children enter a time of wondering where they have the opportunity to discover meaning for themselves. After wondering, children are invited to respond to the story by either creating artwork or working with story materials. The session ends with a simple feast and a personalized blessing for each child.

5th-6th Grade (Family Room): This interactive, Bible-based class includes age appropriate activities and discussion opportunities. Doughnuts and juice are offered.


F3: Family-Faith-Formation meets Wednesdays during designated sessions (Fall, Winter). Opportunities are available for children of all ages – SPL Kids provides classes for our youngest children in our nursery area, all the way to 6th grade.

SPL KIDS: Parent Tips

1. When you pick up your children, please wait for them outside the door. Dismissing the children one at a time allows them to receive a personalized blessing and supports them as they cross the threshold of the room to leave.

2. When you pick up your children, you may want to know what they have learned, but they will not always be able to tell you. Much of the significant communication in the room is nonverbal, and the history of the Christian tradition is full of teachings about how the mystery of God’s presence is difficult to express. They are invited to wonder together what the lesson means and how it is important for their lives. The emphasis is on learning how this language helps them make meaning for their lives.

3. Please don’t come into the room during the session so that the room can remain for the children. Our team utilizes specific techniques to help maintain a child-centered focus in the room. You are always welcome to come into the room after the class, after all kids have been picked up.

SPL KIDS: Web Resources

Join our SPL Kids Facebook Group to stay up-to-date with what’s happening with SPL Kids!

Visit and subscribe to our SPL Kids YouTube Channel to view our latest video content.


The purpose of St. Paul’s Early Learning Center is to serve families of the church and community who desire a Christ-centered care and learning experience for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. The Early Learning Center features daily care options for ages 6 weeks – 5 years (Monday-Friday, 6:30am-5:30pm), preschool classes (ages 3 and 4), and a before/after school and days out program for school-aged youth.

We are blessed to note that among our qualified and caring teaching staff, there is a total of 88 years of teaching experience among them at our Early Learning Center alone (not counting the other years of experience they had prior to coming to the ELC). Five of our teachers have been with the ELC for five years each and three of our teachers have been with the ELC for over ten years each. We value our teaching staff and their dedication, and they are passionate about providing this Christ-centered care day after day for your child.

St. Paul’s Early Learning Center is located at 1 Bachrach Court (corner of West Mound Road and Taylor Avenue), within St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Contact the Early Learning Center for more information about classroom availability, preschool or school-aged programs, or schedule a tour today at 217-424-9183.


St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is one of five member churches forming the Lutheran School Association (St. Paul’s, St. John’s, Trinity, Concordia, and Mt. Calvary) and a proud supporter of the school as an extension of our ministry. The school was organized in 1959. In addition to Kindergarten – 8th grade, the LSA established a High School in the fall of 2000. Families have access to a Christian-centered education for their students in Kindergarten through 12th grade right here in Decatur.