'Sticky Faith'

‘Sticky Faith Sunday’

Why Our Children and Young People Need You

Dear Friends

Today we welcome Steve Hutchinson from Scripture Union to help us think through how we can be a multi generational church. We want everyone to be involved in building life enhancing relationships with one another and grow together as a family.

Imagine Holy Trinity as a place where:

A young person walks into a church. He bounces straight up to a 70 year old, gives her a warm hug and calls out ‘Hey Clive!’ to a warden in the vestry before starting to set up for an evening of prayer and worship.

He doesn’t sit at the back of the church with the other teenagers. He doesn’t even sit with his own family. He sits in a different place every week, with people of all ages and backgrounds. He doesn’t think of himself as ‘Youth’. He thinks: “My name is Sam, and I’m part of this church”.

 

Imagine Holy Trinity as a place where:

The children and teenagers have the energy and vision to launch different ways of doing church among people of their own age, rooted in and supported by the wider church body. They have the freedom and desire to host night long prayer meetings. They meet with others their age each week to chat deeply about life, eternity and the latest blockbuster film.

Imagine Holy Trinity as a place where:

The children and teenagers have parent-daughter and parent-son relationships with the mums and dads in the congregation, and spiritual grandparents in the older folk. They see the younger children in the groups they lead as younger siblings, caring and looking out for them. Their passion is infectious and the church’s children and youth work volunteer list is oversubscribed.

Imagine Holy Trinity as a place where: There is avision to fully integrate the relationships across the generations within the fellowship.

 Martin Saunders, Deputy CEO of Youthscape said: “Youth ministry can’t just become a phase that the Church went through. Young people are its future, its present and it needs people to pastor, attract, keep and care for them”.

Why our children and young people need you

Whilst most of us firmly agree with the vital necessity of a ministry to children and young people, most of us dismiss our own involvement in this ministry on the basis of either being too old, too out of touch or to use spiritual language; ‘Just not called!’

In a piece of research carried out by Youth For Christ, young people were asked what they looked for in a youth worker. An astonishing 85% said they wanted a parental or grandparental figure in their ideal youth worker’. That may surprise you. Most of the church thinks that a good youth worker is someone who is young, cool, energetic, funny and dynamic. Churches might want youth workers like this but research suggests - young people don’t.

 

How can I be a willing volunteer?

There are countless ways you can get involved with our ministry to children and young people, whether that means offering to pray for them by name, baking cakes, serving refreshments, helping with lifts, doing admin or going the whole hog  and volunteering at TJC or any of the youth activities. At its very core, work amongst our children and young people is very simple: loving them and seeking to introduce them to Jesus.

 

Not only do our children and young people want parental and grandparental role models in their leaders, they need them. They need multiple adults of faith to whom they can turn for support and help to enable their faith to survive through secondary school, with a key ratio of 5:1 (five adults to one young person). In most children and youth ministries this is probably reversed – five young people for every adult. You may not think you can be the most significant person in a young person’s life, but could you be one of their five?

Stepping Out

Here are some examples from other churches of ‘unlikely candidates’ involved in supporting ministry amongst children and young people:

Dave is in his late 70sand has been involved with young people for a long time through scouting. For the past 6 years he has been a volunteer for a breakfast club at an academy school.

Ailsa has set aside time every week to manage adminfor a youth pastor, children’s worker and volunteer team. For the last ten years she has kept contact lists up to date, mailed hundreds of letters to parents, booked young people on Soul Survivor, youth weekends and coordinated budgets, transportation and food. Many of the young people would not be in church today were it not for Ailsa’s hard work.

After finishing a tough week in pest control, Robpulls a double volunteer shift for the children’s and youth groups before giving another volunteer a lift home. Rob takes time to listen to young people and firmly challenges difficult behaviour from those experiencing tough situations.

All involved

Our ministry to children and young people shouldn’t be left to the faithful few - the task is too big and the mission too important. This ministry needs the support and involvement of the wider congregation. Children and youth work is for the whole Church, whatever your age, background or experience.

                 Will you help us?    

Stephen

 

Lynn Satchell – Children’s Pastor                   Sam Williams – Youth Pastor

lynn@trinitytewkesbury.org.uk           sam@trinitytewkesbury.org.uk

 

Adapted from an article written by Phoebe Thompson for April edition of ‘Premier Christianity Magazine’ – Used with permission