This year’s Youth and Children’s Project, ‘Foundations’, aims to encourage children and young people to build their faith on the strong foundations of Jesus, and live out their faith knowing that they have Jesus as the basis for everything that they do.
The Bible teaches us about what it means to be a follower of Jesus and helps us to understand the foundational principles that we need to develop in our lives. It teaches us about how to live that faith out so that others see it and are challenged by it.
We are also commanded to share our faith with others, to help them build their faith. We want to remind our children and young people to not only build their faith foundations, but in doing so, to have the confidence to share their faith with others.
‘Foundations’ highlights the stories of Christians in both Pakistan, and Ireland. In Pakistan, Christians are very much in the minority and are a persecuted group in society. Women in that society are rarely educated to a high standard. The United Bible Training Centre aims to teach women and girls the basics of faith and discipleship so that they can go back to their churches and communities and teach others the foundations of their faith. The Project tells the story of Sunana, a typical student at the Training Centre, and how the money raised by ‘Foundations’ can help other students like her.
In Kilmount Presbyterian, which is in the Presbytery of Monaghan, there is a growing church community with an increasing number of children, toddlers and babies, but no appropriate space for them to be taught and discipled on a Sunday morning. The children aged 5-11 years meet together in a tiny room behind the pulpit, where the space is cramped and no longer fit for purpose.
They hope to rebuild a structure at the back of the church building, which is currently a storage shed. The space they will create will provide all the facilities they need, both for the children and young people on a Sunday, and for other church activities during the week.
‘Foundations’ highlights the story of Jamie, who has grown up through the Sunday school. When he started, there was only him and one other girl. Now the children barely fit in the only room that they have to use!
The teaching for ‘Foundations’ focuses on the story Jesus told of the wise and foolish builders, in Matthew 7. Jesus showed that when we build our life on a solid rock as our foundation – on God and his Word – we can stand strong and not be knocked down by the storms that hit us. The memory verse comes from Psalm 62:2, which says, “He is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” That is the hope which we have for the children and young people who learn from the project, as well as those who are on the receiving end of the prayer and fundraising.
Please encourage your congregation as a whole to support this year’s Youth and Children’s Project. We want to encourage our children and young people to make Jesus the foundation of their faith as their rock and to display that faith for others to see.
The project packs will be available for all congregations at the first presbytery meeting of the year.
Ruth Bromley is the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s Children’s Development Officer.