Matt Summerfield is always a joy to listen to and this seminar, and his session the following day, were both top notch.

He started by sharing how his 6 year old son was talking about church and said to his mate how rubbish it was. That was a really gutting moment – but is the world in which we live, cf. post-Christendom, and Stuart Murray. The challenge now is either to give up or to recognise that it is our job, a mandate to preach the good news. People can reject that good news, but they must do that from a position of knowledge rather than ignorance.

Our work between churched and unchurched kids is becoming more blurred. Sunday school is becoming missional – children want to be at mid-week groups, but on a Sunday they are often there only because of their parents.

The solutions is (5e)R

Education – we are shying away from teaching the Bible to young people. A 5 minute god slot is a waste of time. Sunday school had 8 key stories which used to bore us, but now young people don’t even know those. We need to highlight that it is God’s living story.

Enjoyment – we should enjoy it, have fun. Why do we always bill the god slot as the boring five minutes at the end of club? We need to mix our teaching with crazy activities, e.g. ice cream factory, a trip to a ball park or a weekend away.

Example – we need to look at how we relate to children and other leaders. Jesus says by our love for one another we will be known as his. Young people pick that up very quickly.

Experience – are we providing regular opportunities for young people to experience God? We bottle it and don’t allow God to do his work. Be creative, especially with prayer, and don’t be afraid to ditch some of the curriculum.

Empower – are we creating opportunities for young people to serve God? Not just doing the offering or giving out hymn books. How about writing prayers, doing a rap or a little sermon, visiting OAPs, picking litter/cleaning graffiti? Don’t allow them to be a subscriber but a leader. It doesn’t matter what their faith position is – get non-Christians involved in the mission of God and see how they change.

Relationship
We have no right to do this work unless we love them, cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:8. Visiting a child in their world every week is great. Children want somewhere to belong and be loved – we can offer that – we may need to change our mindset and go to them rather than bring them to us.

A really helpful session with a great structure – something I will definitely be using with some of our volunteers.

Chris
cskidd1983@gmail.com
Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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