Following the model of the Phoenix Youth Work Project led by Andy, The Aspire Children’s Work Project was formed. Seven faithful children’s workers committed to join our group and meet every couple of weeks for six sessions, to explore children’s ministry and what this looks like for each leader and their church going forwards.
It was an interesting journey and exciting to look back and compare the initial reasons from why the leaders wanted to join the group, their expectations and what they were hoping to get from it, to finally seeing incredible visions and pathways ahead from the wonderful reflections that each leader shared at our final meeting.
There was so much value in leaders taking time for discussions to think outside the box and be inspired by others and, ultimately, God. We took time to compare the Bible with how we do ministry; highlighting the similarities and differences was beneficial in shaping priorities within our ministries.
As we met for the final session, each leader had a list of priorities they wanted to explore in their ministry. Although each was geared to their own ministry, there were so many common themes that stood out. The two key priorities that seemed to be expressed by every leader was building relationships with children and reaching out to the families.
Building relationships with children – Children don’t just want to attend a session and be a number in the group, they value leaders to get to know them and for them to get to know their leaders, to build trust and be able to openly share how they are. It became clearer during lockdown as to the importance of relationships being far greater than the activities that you run. When groups stop, when games stop, relationships continue. And moving forward, the question is how do we continue to prioritise this?
Reaching out to families – As for most of us, lockdown became a struggle for families and, for many children’s workers, it became a great way to reach out and have more deep and meaningful conversations. The concern is that we don’t lose this connection as we get busy with activities again.
Moving forward each of our leaders will be taking their vision, keep to the forefront of their ministry ways to disciple their children, building relationships with them and keeping strong connections with the families.
Quotes from some of our leaders
“It’s helped me know my vision (hopefully God’s vision and heart) for the future. I hope it will help me to have a clearer direction and actually make the changes I want to see.”
“It will help me to be more focused in my thinking of how I run the ministry”
“It has proved so useful for me – I would love to incorporate the same themes with the children’s volunteers that I work with, to see how they respond to the challenges and questions that you have set us during the sessions!”
“I think seeing that I am not the only one – I am not alone! – there is a group of people working towards the same goals and passionate about how to best serve God and the children/ teachers we meet during our day to day lives, in a new and real way, to make a real connection with them, so they can have a proper relationship with Christ – not at arm’s length. For me, Covid has been like a reset button and a chance to change and evolve into something new – I think I have grasped the idea of change in a positive way, and I’ve certainly felt this during the sessions, not in specific plans but just the idea – that waiting and listening for God’s movements, is as important as the next big event!”
Although we came to the end of our Aspire sessions, it feels like it’s just the beginning for our leaders as they look to shape their ministry, keeping their eyes fully fixed on God and His plan for them and their children and families.