As the Director of the Preschool at Saddleback Valley Christian, I have the privilege of leading Chapel for seventy-five children each week – ages 3 to 4. We sing, we hear stories, we memorize words from the Bible, and we talk about Jesus. It is definitely one of the highlights of my week and it is the reason behind what I do. Chapel time is one of the many ways our little ones have the opportunity to hear about Jesus at Preschool each day. Chapel plays a significant role in our program as it allows us to share Jesus together as a group.
I genuinely anticipate sharing with these little children stories about Jesus and His ways, His attributes, His glory and His goodness! These stories, wrapped in “Preschool Packaging,” contain life lessons that are so good and so important for their little ears to hear. Chapel is participatory, and the children know that I’ll gladly acknowledge a raised hand. My heart smiles when I see a hand raised and my face follows suit, especially when I call on a child only to find out he/she just wants to tell me a random story about his/her weekend. Remember this is preschool and, to be honest, I love every minute of it!
But then …
There are those definitive times during Chapel that are so sacred, so honest, and so sweet that I know our Preschoolers are getting a glimpse of who Jesus truly is. This is not because of me. This is because whenever two or more are gathered in the name of Jesus, He shows up (Matthew 18:20). This is true for three and four year olds too!
One of my favorite stories to tell is when Jesus says, “Let the children come to me…” (Mark 10:14). The Holy Spirit is always with us during Chapel, no matter what story is being told. However, there are certain times when there is an evident hush over the room because our God truly wants these little ones to hear about Him. The Mark 10:14 story inevitably will bring this type of hush to Chapel each time it is told. The children and I talk about how some of Jesus’ friends were feeling grumpy. These friends told the children not to bother Jesus and to go away. It is during this time in the story that I will ask our Preschoolers if they think Jesus had time to talk to all of those children in the story – some nod their heads and say “yes” and some shake their heads and say “no.” However, by the end of the story, the message is clear to each child: Jesus DOES have the time and He listens! Jesus said, “Let the children come to me!” This touches their hearts. They understand! And they are so excited to hear how Jesus always has time for His children. He loves to hear their voices talking to Him. He loves to hold them in His lap. He wants them to know how much they are loved. He wants to bless them. This is such happy news to their little ears!
I can’t help but think that this child-like joy and love for Him is one of the things Jesus was talking about when He said you must become like children, to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Could it be that simple? The lesson for my Preschoolers is this simple, and yet it is so profound. I am reminded of this simplicity all of the time, especially when the words I have for the children bounce right back at me and end up ministering to my own heart.
Let these little ones remind you today –
Jesus always has time for us.
He loves to hear us talk to Him.
He loves to hold us close.
He wants us to know we are loved.
He wants to bless us.
At SVC, we affectionately call our Preschool “The Second Happiest Place on Earth.” Tammy Huebner has the joy of leading this wonderful part of our ministry. “I am passionate about my work at SVC because of my love for children – how they think, how they learn, how they express themselves,” said Mrs. Huebner. “I know how much the little ones matter to Jesus and I understand the responsibility of those who influence them.”
It’s Mrs. Huebner’s great love for children that routinely takes her out of her office and into the classrooms. In addition to her administrative duties, she enjoys singing with and reading to the children. A highlight for her is leading each week’s chapel.
Mrs. Huebner began teaching in SVC’s early childhood program in 2003. She assumed the Director’s duties in 2008. Prior to joining this ministry, she taught at other Orange County preschools. Her degree is in Early Childhood Education, specializing in ages 2 – 5. She also holds an Early Education Director Certificate from Vanguard University.
Although Mrs. Huebner relishes being SVC’s Preschool Director, her favorite job title is “mom.” She and her husband of 26 years, Jason, have three children — all of whom graduated from SVC.