Children and Young People were in the spotlight at Bridgnorth Baptist Church on Sunday 15th November. Church members and friends met to discuss and agree priorities for the youngest people in our church family, taking time to think, listen, test and pray about many ideas.
When considering a mission statement, shown below, the groups spoke passionately about children understanding forgiveness, grace, empowerment, the importance of church. They acknowledged and appreciated the people who already give their time and energy to helping children and young people develop in faith and relationship and expressed their desire to share the responsibility.
‘We want children and young people to know and understand that:
- through the death and resurrection of Jesus they are made right with God (Romans 5:19);
- through relationship with our heavenly Father, Jesus his son, and the Holy Spirit, they can experience life in all its fullness (John 10:10);
- this promise and this grace does not depend on anything they do, is for everyone and it lasts for ever.
We accept our shared responsibility for this.’
When considering how each of us can play our part, several helpful comments were made:
- We can all model how Jesus influences our lives
- We can all pray for children using the church directory
This would be particularly beneficial for those in the Prayer and Encouragement Team
- We can all make an effort to learn the children’s names This would be particularly beneficial for those in the Welcome Team
- Worship leaders can do things like encouraging children to join in with musical instruments
- Those providing refreshments can set things out to cater for children as well as adults
To have the best chance of achieving our aims for children and young people, there needs to be effective partnership and communication between the group leaders and parents/carers. Many things were identified that would help this to happen:
- Parents/carers assisting with some sessions
- Email updates from leaders to families, with information about themes and activities (planning and evaluations)
- Partnership meetings for leaders and parents/carers
Other ideas for involving the congregation included:
- Coaching for sticking up for their faith
- Designing and publishing an annual curriculum
A particularly fun bit of the evening was when we all had an opportunity to share any frustrations about children and young people in church, although we were all ready to admit that some of these might be our own lack of understanding and tolerance!
- Mobile phones
- Loud screaming and crying
- Running around after services (particularly with hot drinks around)
We thought that, in order to help families, we should ensure all-age services don’t go on too long. We should also invest in the sound from the main room being audible in the foyer and/or back room, so parents who take their children out of the main room for some ‘calming down time’ don’t miss out.
We ended the evening with a wonderful time of prayer; celebrating the children and young people that we know in our church and praying for God’s blessing on each one of them (we listed them by name).
It’s now an exciting time as we plan, with God as our guide, to bring about the improvements that we have identified.
Member of the Core Leadership Team
Bridgnorth Baptist Church