– Setting the context and vision for 2012

A number of years ago the leadership in St. Mungo’s recognised how critical it was that we, as a church, ‘moved the furniture’ around in order to be increasingly relevant and prepared to share the gospel with the next generation of children.

Those of you who are parents are on the frontline of what competes for our children’s lives and worship and will know something of the complexities involved in faithful witness and nurture of a real life-giving relationship with Jesus in our children.

It is critical that we as a church, change our thinking on how to introduce our children to the greatest gift we can give them- a relationship with Christ, but we cannot do this alone. It has become increasingly clear that our modus operandi, that proved effective in the past, is no longer adequate. It’s not just ‘the furniture’ that needs to be rearranged, but the manner in which we function has to be rethought. We are in the process of restructuring our curriculum, our pastoral care and how we relate to the children and their family.

Each of us has witnessed the amazing development of housing units and shopping malls around St. Mungo’s. It’s as if we have been placed in a beautifully central position for vital impact into what promises to be an extraordinary concentration of new families into our community. Families, many of whom may have had little, no or bad contact with Christianity. There is much work to be done and we are reminded of Jesus saying, ‘The fields are ripe for the harvest, pray for the Lord of the harvest to send workers.’ What an incredibly privileged and exciting task to be entrusted with.

As the council and children’s ministry team have faced the issues, we have become deeply persuaded that it is essential that the emphasis in our ministry shifts from being ‘child focussed’ (as in one hour on a Sunday at Sunday school) to the recognition that the 24/7 teaching and nurturing unit of formation is the family. We believe that it is important therefore that our focus increasingly addresses formation of faith in the context of the whole family unit. Our hope is to be able to equip our families to know the Lord Jesus intimately and to learn together what faithful discipleship means. Can you imagine the impact of this on a burgeoning community, as together we share His love and truth passionately and as creatively as possible.

We are part of the wider body of Christ serving this community and so will be aiming to foster our relationships with the children’s ministry teams of the other churches in this area. There is so much we can learn from each other and a great deal that will be enabled by shared experience and resources as we tackle the call to serve this community.

We have much homework to do in adjusting to relevant pastoral care of and communication with our families and children. Some things are in process:

  • We have updated our database but it requires constant monitoring and updating. Accurate information is vital for good communication. Please let Nicole have any change in your details.
  • We’d like to care even deeper for our children by marking their birthdays and other significant events in their lives (sporting events or concerts for examples) as well as when they are sick or if they go into hospital.
  • Our crèche is now open for both the 8am and 9.30am services.
  • We are planning some fun Friday night activities, so please keep a look out in the notices for details.
  • A reminder that there’ll be a holiday club again during the July school holidays which we run in partnership with Bryanston Methodist Church.
  • There is ongoing teaching training but in line with the shift of our focus, we will be running a really valuable parenting course this year and would love to have as many parents as possible attend. Again, we will notify you of the details.
  • Pray for us as we take the gospel into local schools on a weekly basis.

Finally, Jess Dale has taken a sabbatical leave from teaching but is still involved in the preparing and planning of the curriculum. She has played such an invaluable part of the children’s ministry and she will be missed on Sunday mornings but we are deeply grateful for her continued support in our labours.

We so look forward to serving with you this year!

Yours in Christ

The Children’s Ministry Team

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