Love of Children

The Love of Children Program

In the Spring of 2023, Justice and Local Church Ministries was awarded a $1.25m grant from the Lilly Endowment through its Nurturing Children Through Worship & Prayer Initiative. This four-year program will allow the denomination to engage in a thorough research program to assess the state of Children’s Ministry in the United Church of Christ and then take that information and create a dynamic program to strengthen our local congregations in the work of faith formation and children.

This work began in 2023 and culminated with a report written by Magnetize. In this report there are several key considerations for topics facing our children that can be offered as webinars and courses. We will be partnering with several organizations including the Network of Wider Church Youth Ministries, the Association of United Church Educators, and Ministry Incubators to provide resources, written and video curricula, and trainings over the next several years.

In addition, we will be launching an application later this year for interested congregations to have two individuals from their local church be a part of a yearlong cohort that will go through learnings and site visits together to grow their children’s ministry into vibrant, faith-filled places for children, birth through the age of twelve.

The Love of Children program is being directed by Reverends Trayce Potter and Tyler Ung.

Our Mission Statement

To strengthen the faith of the next generation by partnering with congregations to build dynamic and holistic Children’s Ministry initiatives.

Learn More | State of Children’s Ministry | Contact Us

Learn More and Get Involved

Get Involved

Learn more about the upcoming Love of Children events and webinars. Please note, some events are by invitation and others will require registration and more information will be posted as it becomes available.


Love of Children Planning: April 29th-30th, 2024


Reset for Renewal: Children’s Ministry Edition: May 10th, 2024 – 11:00-1:00pm ET


Nurture the Soul Webinars: Webinar details will be posted on the UCC’s events page and include webinars on May 30th, June 6th, and June 13th.

To stay up to date with the Love of Children program, please sign up to receive our newsletter and communications by completing this form.

Applications for the 2025 Love of Children cohort will soon be available.


The cohort will consist of two individuals from seven United Church of Christ congregations who wish to take the next step in nurturing children through worship and prayer. Members will journey together through several webinars, practical learning activities, book studies, site visits and more. Each congregation represented in the cohort will receive Love of Children prayerground materials to enhance their worship space, making it more accessible to children.


Additional requirements and information will be available later in 2024.

The State of Children’s Ministry

In phase 1 of the Love of Children program, we sought to gain valuable information by partnering with CARRD and OrgStory to help assess the state of children’s ministry within the United Church of Christ. In 2023 we ran three surveys and hosted several small group or individual sessions with key stakeholders including: conference staff, children’s ministry leaders, parents, national staff and the current General Minister & President. While we will continue to engage these audiences throughout the grant cycle, we have compiled the results as well.

Through this research, we were given a glimpse into the needs and gifts of Children’s Ministry in our congregations and settings. In addition to the insights we gleaned, it was also clear that there is a great need for us to strengthen our communication, build relationships with congregations, and continue the process of receiving and applying feedback from the full, diverse range of United Church of Christ communities so that all children can be supported and nurtured by the resources we develop. Our evaluation is ongoing, and we want to hear from you about how we can help support your ministry!

Contact Us

If you would like more information about the Love of Children or to share the exciting things happening in your church’s children’s ministry program, please contact our program directors.

Rev. Trayce Potter
United Church of Christ, National Ministries
1300 E. 9th Street, Suite 1100
Cleveland, OH 44114

Rev. Tyler Ung