Week #17. Meet Linda Bailey. She is the Family Missionary at KidStreet PlayCenter, a ministry of Trinity Lutheran Church located in Lisle, Illinois. Trinity is a multi-site church that has an average worship attendance of 1000 people on a given Sunday. They describe themselves as “one church with many locations.”
Trinity’s second site is referred to as Trinity Green Trails and opened in a strip mall seven years ago. Located only 2.4 miles from the first church campus, Trinity Green Trails opened as Trinity’s contemporary worship site. Trinity built out the store front space with a multipurpose auditorium for worship, Sunday School rooms, with the front of the space being used as a coffee shop café and large indoor play structure.
On the front of the building, the word “Trinity” appears, but no steeple identifies the location as a church. Bailey says, “Inside the building, we don’t hide that we are a church. Some people are quite surprised to learn that we are a church when they come for coffee, or to hang out, or to play with their kids!” KidStreet has become a destination PlayCenter with an indoor playground and three rooms filled with toys and activities to use throughout the week. KidStreet, has been a popular spot especially when the weather is cold or very hot, snowy or rainy. Bailey’s role as a missionary is to engage the families there.
In 2016, Kid Street had over 45,000 check-ins, which means at least one adult with one child each time. Not only do the families play on the play structure, but the staff plans activities for each day, including music, crafts, S.T.E.M., fun movement activities, community visitors, and an interactive cross+gen Bible class each day at 10:30 am.
People check in and wear name tags, and they pay per day, or take advantage of a six-month membership. She says, “There is no drop off. Caregivers and kids learn together! We sing Jesus Loves Me and talk about God and faith.” In small doses between songs, crafts, and play time, kids and their adults are learning about God’s love for them together.
KidStreet has become a unique ministry filling a need in the community. Bailey says, “We encounter the world. All ages. All colors. All stages.” Most of the people who come to play are not members of the church. “Churches often talk about bringing the love of God out to the world, but the world is literally coming to us.”
Grounds for Hope Café and KidStreet PlayCenter at Trinity bring the world to the church and the church to the world. The people who come there, love it. Some people told Bailey that they plan their weekly schedule around the activities. It’s a different way to do faith formation but for Trinity it’s working!
Why does Kid Street matter? It matters because of what Jesus said in Matthew 19, when he said, “Let the children come to me.” Kids are part of God’s design, and they are happy to welcome them all.