“Through Christian kids’ work God is meeting a new generation across the UK today. I believe it’s good to get on board with what God is doing in children and youth ministry.” – Mim James, Jesus Fellowship Kids’ Church co-ordinator.
Dancing, singing, messy activities all based around the theme of “Treasure Finders! Stories Jesus told” was the flavour of the Jesus Fellowship May Bank Holiday Kids’ Church for children ages 5-11. It was fun, fabulous and full of surprises, for both the trained youth workers and the children.
“My favourite bit? I liked it all! All the kids really enjoyed it,” said Micah, 8.
“I loved the dancing, songs and making friends,” said Susannah, 5.
“As a church we’re going back to basics and in Kid’s Church we decided to follow what the adults are doing and look at some bible basics too. Also, children love stories. Did you know Jesus told 46 parables? He loved stories too!” said Mim.
“After a little research, I realised that Jesus’ parables basically fall into three categories: first of all there are the kingdom parables, then those that tell us what God is like and thirdly there are those addressing our human instincts and behaviour. In the May Bank Holiday we concentrated on the first, the kingdom parables. In August (there will be two sessions) we will concentrate on the other two!
“So, using interactive visuals carefully made by my husband and I, with suggestions, guess work and a lot of hilarity from our young audience, we told the story of the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46) and the treasure in the field (Matthew 13:44). Children are very literal and don’t ‘do abstract’ so we took pains to choose our words carefully! The message was: Jesus must be the most important thing in our lives – not just someone in the background. We live for Jesus! We were made because God wants us to be friends. It makes Him so sad when we aren’t. Jesus can make us friends with God again by holding hands with both God and us – yes, Jesus can be our best friend!
“It was so exciting to see every one of the children engage as we followed these stories up with Jesus’ parables about the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32), the great banquet (Luke 14:15-24) and the dragnet of fish (Matthew 13:47-14:12) – and finishing with writing the names of friends and family we want to be friends with Jesus written on the back of a paper fish to use as a prayer aid, as well as giving an opportunity for the children to say a simple prayer for themselves. All the kids went home with mustard seeds in a little pot to grow at home.
“We also had ‘a space’ in our events marquee for 0-4 year olds with toys, colouring pages and playdough. Children in the area had to be supervised by parents all the time but comments from parents afterwards showed the space and activities provided really helped both them and the children enjoy the weekend far more!”
Mim adds: “I did a lot of background research on kids’ work across the UK run by different Christian groups before the bank holiday. Two generations in our country have never been churched: the majority of today’s parents and their children. Parents are often defensive and don’t want anything to do with religion. Children, however, engaging in kids’ work, tell their parents what they have learned and how they have changed and invite them to church events for the whole family.
“Messy Church has revived parts of the Church of England. Mark Griffiths, head of Children and Family Ministry for New Wine for just over a decade has really pushed messy church and kid’s ministries as a whole. He is passionate about it because he has seen it is making its impact!”
“Ruth Grist, the Children and Youth Pastor at Lantern Church, who helped us launch our Children’s Church last year, started off with a group with kids from her church and has now extended it to the locality and runs clubs for the kids of her neighbourhood. This is how God is moving! Kids’ work is, and never should be, a background ministry.”
The Jesus Fellowship is committed to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults and ensuring their well-being. Members whose work or volunteering involves unsupervised contact with children or young people under 18 undertake a DBS Disclosure and work to a formal code of conduct. For details of our safeguarding procedures for children and young adults read our Safeguarding Statement and view our Safeguarding Poster.