Variety is the spice of life

Ruth Bromley

19.5.2017 | Congregational Life, Youth & Children, Mission

Variety is the spice of life, but in her blog Ruth Bromley, PCI's Children's Development Officer asks congregations "What is your vision for children's ministry?"

I love that children’s ministry has so many different elements and recently things have been more varied than usual!

Last Saturday at Kids’ Big Day Out, we had 500 children and 160 leaders come to Wellington Presbyterian to think about God’s Big Story that runs through the Bible.

Unfolding story

We learnt (or were reminded) about God’s plan of redemption and rescue from the Garden of Eden to the Resurrection and that it is a story that continues in our lives today. Drama company, Play it by Ear. and a team of staff and volunteers helped the children and leaders to see the story unfold on stage and worked out through different activities and songs.

I love seeing children get excited about hearing God’s story and responding to what they hear in many different ways.

A few days later, I had the privilege of celebrating the graduation of 18 participants of the Children’s Ministry Certificate Course that is run in partnership with Union Theological College. Since September these leaders have spent time thinking intensively about children’s ministry and, with the help of a team of experts, thought through the ministry they are involved in, learnt new skills and discussed how to make children’s ministry in their congregation the best hour of everyone’s week.

In Psalm 78:4-7 it says, "We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done…that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments."

Reaching out

With this in mind, we are running a pop-up conference today called Reach. Its purpose is to begin a conversation about connecting with young people and children who do not come from families of faith and may not have much contact with anyone else who is a Christian.

This is the beginning of a conversation that is so important and hopefully we can discover together how to reach out to help these children and young people encounter God.

Variety. It keeps life interesting and brings so much excitement and celebration as we think about our role in the wider church. As a Council, our role is to envision, equip and enable local congregations in their life and witness. In everything we do, we keep this vision at the front of our thinking. It allows for all this variety but also keeps us focussed on what the goal is.

Having a vision

As leaders, you need to have a vision for the children’s ministry in your church. It needs to be one that keeps you focussed but is not so restrictive that you cannot enjoy the variety of ministry with children.

Your role as a leader is to make your aspect of children’s ministry the best that it can be but not in isolation from everything else. As a congregation, you want the best connections, best relationships and the best sharing of faith with children as is possible and that is better done together.

So I simply have one question. What is your vision?

Ruth Bromley is the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's Children's Development Officer. You can find out more about PCI’s Youth and Children’s ministry, here including downloadable resources, blogs by Ruth and information on forthcoming events here.

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