Main session 2: The child through the eyes of the church

This session was by Alan Charter and was fantastic. He started off by asking what does it mean to be an older generation sharing with a younger generation? Thoughts included that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, and ‘the life of a child is like a piece of paper on which every passer-by leaves a mark.’ It is the role of the whole community of God’s people: parents, children’s leaders, volunteers, ministers and pastors, and the church family.

We should be raising them up to know God and to live for him. To support this he used the famous verses of Deuteronomy 6; Psalm 78; and Micah 6. As children’s leaders we need to encourage the church in this.

His main points could then be summarised as:
– Be an advocate
– Be people of vision
– Be informed
– Be strategic

He concluded with 4 things to get good at:
1. Your own relationship with Jesus
2. Equipping your own children
3. Making disciples in your church
4. Reaching the children in your community

Concluding thought was this: “The church of God doesn’t have a mission, the mission of God has a church.” A very powerful thought.

Main session 1: The child through the eyes of Jesus.

Dave Roberts took the first session, which I found rather hard work. He seemed to jump around the Bible a lot, and got increasingly louder in volume which just seemed to end up with him shouting at us.

He started off by highlighting how 2000 years ago society had a really low view of the child. It was common for them to be sacrificed or forced into sexual practices. The Aramaic for child means servant or salve, so to see the context that Jesus spoke into we need to look at societies where people are marginalised.

Jesus blessed children and was an advocate to the marginalised. He wanted inclusivity in the kingdom of God. The church is to be the advocate for the child in religion and wider society.

Dave then went on to show how Jesus remodelled the father heart for his culture. They saw father as a fierce far off person, but Jesus was keen on tough love – of passionate caring.

Children’s Ministry Conference

Last weekend we went to the Children’s Ministry Conference. A great weekend of teaching and thinking. We were able to take a couple of key volunteers with us this time which was great for them to have the chance to be inspired and do some thinking on their ministry. Had fun with our accommodation but that is for another post. I will try and post some summaries of the sessions.

Hectic but alive!

I’ve been really hectic recently with going to the Children’s Ministry Conference at the weekend, some big events at youth groups and trying to organise the spending of our grant money. I’ve felt quite frustrated about my lack of blogging but as Hannah, my wife, said it is from the busy times that you get good things to reflect on. Let’s hope that is the case next week!

More funding

A while ago I posted about how we were going to put a bid in to The Youth Opportunities Fund and Youth Capital Fund which had something in the region of £60,000-70,000 available. I received a phone call last night saying that both our groups that applied have been successful. While some funding was knocked off from their bid they have still received a considerable amount. We should hear the confirmation of the figure on Monday, so I won’t post the precise figure till then.

Supermarket asks man, 87, for ID

The BBC is reporting how an 87 year old man was asked to prove he was over 21 when he tried to buy a bottle of sherry in a York supermarket. The former Lord Mayor of York, Jack Archer, said he was shocked – but flattered – when asked the question by staff at Morrisons in Acomb. Seems like a case of the rules regarding selling alcohol being taken too far – obviously he doesn’t need to be asked.

Youth club trip out

Tonight was the first trip out of the New Year. We took our two monday night youth groups to the Rayleigh Megazone . It was a great night – the kids always enjoy the laser tag. We had an entertaining start with the smoke alarm going off within minutes of us entering the building. On one of the coldest nights it wasn’t great to be standing outside but they got it sorted really quickly. The first game was just the twenty young people we took, the second game included twenty younger children from another group which was good although quite difficult because everywhere you turned someone was shooting at you.

Always a good night out so if you are in south Essex do pop along.

It’s arrived

Over the weekend our grant cheques from the county council arrived. It is really fun looking to spend £6000 and the joy that it will bring to the young people. Had some great conversations with some really helpful companies, looking to give discounts and provide some quality advice on picking the correct products. If their service continues to be as good I will put some plugs/comments up here.

And we’re back…

A couple of my readers questioned a couple of thoughts I posted before Christmas and so I made the blog private for a few days to spend some thinking about why do I post and what is the content I post. I am going to need some more time thinking this through – to ensure that I am able to reflect and receive comments and thoughts from others whilst still understanding that I need to be more careful what I post. Does anyone have any guidelines or thoughts they use to help them when blogging about stuff that happens in their job?

Children’s Ministry Conference

Looks like I am off in a couple of weekends to Eastbourne with a couple of my volunteers to the Children’s Ministry Conference. It should be a really good weekend with over 60 seminars and workshops which will be grouped into 5 streams: Children’s ministry leadership issues; Outreach beyond church; Working with under 5s; Working with 5-9s; Working with tweenagers. I am excited about sharing this with others, I hope it really encourages, energises and inspires them in their work. Give me a shout if you are going to be there.