The righteous man walks in integrity. Blessed are his children after him.
Mark may be a young father, but he’s mature in wisdom. Every Sunday, he brings his two-year-old son to church because he knows it’s the best thing he can do for him.
“I missed out on a lot of years of being in the church – I started very late in life – so I’m trying to give him a head start,” Mark said with hope in his voice. “He doesn’t understand yet what’s going on, but I’m building a foundation for him.”
Before dinner, Mark teaches his son to pray before he eats and when he tucks him in at bedtime, they pray again. He puts his little hands together, looks up at his father as he prays and then they both say, “Amen.”
Mark and his wife, Lauren, have another child on the way. You can tell by his beaming smile that he’s very grateful for the blessing of his strong and growing family.
Erasmus has been a faithful member of Key to Faith for about 30 years. He and his wife, Gerri, have raised their three children in the church, and their eldest, Ofi, is now an integral part of the worship team.
“I’ve lived in the world before, so when I came to God I saw a difference,” he said. “I had to lead my children through the same thing. Let them not learn by themselves to come to Him, but to come to Him now. What I learned, I transferred [to them].”
Pascal and his wife, Cathy, have raised all four of their children at Key to Faith. When asked why, Pascal replied, “It’s the best way you can do it.”
His youngest son, James, is now a drummer at the Hillsong church in France and his oldest daughter, Emilie, is one of the worship leaders here at Key to Faith.
At night, Pascal would play French songs to Emilie on his guitar until she fell asleep. Those sweet melodies remain in her heart to this day.
“We’re all different and we all have different views of raising children, but it’s not to say one way is better,” said Pascal. “Love your kids and do your best. We’re the first example that they’ll see.”
On Sunday mornings, Paul and one of his 13 grandchildren, Christian, are always at the church doors, greeting people with warm smiles. Paul believes it’s important for Christian to serve because it will build himself up for his future.
“He has a servant’s heart naturally, but I think it’s good for him to know that his servant’s heart comes from the greatest Servant of all,” he said. “It’s important that he knows responsibility and commitment to a church.”
Nicole and her husband, Kevin, found out about five months ago that they had a baby on the way. It was something that they prayed about for a while and it was exciting for them to see that they’re prayers were answered.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. “Early on, we got some news from the doctor that the baby had cysts on its brain,” said Nicole.
Even though that was probably the worst news they could have received, Nicole and Kevin made the decision not to worry and to instead leave everything in God’s hands.
“We just went to our 20 week sonogram and there were no cysts,” Nicole said with tears in her eyes. “It was a lot of praying and understanding that there’s no need to worry.”
Carol is at a very different stage in life; her children are grown and moving away and starting families of their own. Her son, Billy, is going to be moving to Los Angeles soon and it’s been very hard on her.
“It’s a stage in your life where you have to let go and you have to really trust God,” she said. “With Billy moving to L.A., I’m happy for him, but I’m sad that he’s gone. I have to trust God to take care of him.”
One of her friends at church, Suzanne, has children who are the same age, so she’s able to relate to her struggles and encourage her when she needs it the most.
“I think God definitely put me [at Key to Faith] for that reason specifically,” said Carol. “You need the support of other parents or other people who are going through the same thing or else you think it’s all on you.”
Suzanne has been encouraging her to seek God’s word and know that everything is in His hands. Carol realizes now that her job of raising them has come to an end, and that now she has to pray that they make the right decisions and lean on God.
“To me the most important thing that I always try to remember is that God loves them more than I love them, so I have to trust,” she said.
“When you had a really rough week, praise and worship changes the atmosphere around you. When you decide to press in and enter into His presence, everything changes. The words to the song aren’t just words anymore, they’re alive and they are living in you.”
Emilie got her first taste of music at a very young age. Late at night, her father would pull up a chair in her room and play French songs on his guitar until she fell asleep.
That same passion for music that lived in him, was also in her.
When she got older, she taught herself how to play Anyone Else But You by The Moldy Peaches from the movie, Juno.
“When I finally learned how to play that song, it was just like the doors of learning guitar finally opened.”
She then taught herself how to harmonize by singing along with the choir at church on Sundays.
One Saturday night, she finally mustered up enough courage to sing at a youth event. When Gladys, one of the singers in music ministry, heard Emilie’s voice, she immediately brought her on board.
“It made me feel like it was supposed to happen, because God knows I’m not the type of person to just go out there and do something. I almost feel like if I want to do it, God will put it in my hands.”
Over the course of five years, the leader of the music ministry, Pete, started drawing her out of her comfort zone. She started off as a nervous, inexperienced girl, but quickly blossomed into a confident woman who’s now on her way to being a leader herself.
When you walk through the doors of Key to Faith on a Sunday morning, it’s now Emilie’s voice that fills your ears. But it’s not her or any of the other members of the music ministry who she wants you to notice.
“What I’ve learned from the beginning to now is that anything that is up there is not in my power. That stage belongs to Jesus and there is nothing I or anyone up there can do to change that.”
Even though she’s usually all smiles, she has her share of rough days. As a leader, a lot of responsibilities fall on her shoulders and sometimes it can feel like too much.
“I literally just had to put my hands down and say, ‘Jesus, you need to do something here because I can’t do anything, this is impossible.’ But it’s so funny when you say that and then God is like, ‘Don’t worry, I’ve had control this whole time.'”
One of the verses that has been encouraging her lately is Ephesians 6:7, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”
“If Jesus can live His life completely and fully devoted to God the Father, then so can I. If He can do it then with Him in me, I can do it.”
10:00 a.m. - Praise and Worship and a Message from God's Word
10:30 a.m. - Children's Church
Key to Faith Church
A Hillsong Network Church
at The Cultural Arts Playhouse
170 Michael Drive
Syosset, Long Island, NY