This fortnight's blog comes from Rachael, our Children and Families Worker, reflecting on how her vocation has impacted her.
I have worked with children and families for nearly ten years in different capacities. I thought it would be interesting to share five key things that have shaped me along this journey. This may give you some insight into my approach with Children and Families work around the Circuit. 1. Each one teach one
You never know what life experience may come in useful when encouraging or advising others. I have often found myself referring to situations that weren’t of significance to me, but can be an illustration to help pull someone else through. These moments are a special part of working with children and families, walking along this journey called life together, teaching and helping one another. I have often found that I learn lots from the children I have worked with. Whether its their bravery, fearlessness or enthusiasm for life. It could also be the way they process something I had prepared or answered a question from their perspective. Children have lots to learn but also have lots to give and I am always open to receive from them. 2. Blessed are the flexible, they will never be bent out of shape
You can spend hours planning a session, gathering resources from books, the internet, experience etc but sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. You could plan for 20 children and only 2 turn up, you could plan a theme and halfway through realise it just isn’t going the way you hoped, technical issues could crop up. The great thing about Children’s Ministry is the heart behind it- whilst excellence is important, what’s really important is sowing seeds of love and faith in the hearts of those you come into contact with. In moments of the unexpected it’s being mindful of the awesome privilege it is to impart in lives and the responsibility of displaying God’s love that gets me through!
3. Creativity is key
I love the Bible, I love that it is alive and powerful. I love that I could read the same verse of scripture over and over again and get something different from it every time. I love that God is a creative God. If we are made in His image, we are too, creative beings. I rely on the Holy Spirit for creativity and always look for different ways I can embed scripture or biblical principles into whatever I am doing. Considering different learning styles, learning abilities and levels of maturity- creativity is imperative for delivering important information in engaging and interactive ways. It’s not always easy, it is an ever evolving process, but one that I am careful to assess along the way, learning from the ‘not so great’ moments and looking for ways to replicate the really successful ones. 4. Being relevant is a must:
I am only 25 and even I struggle to keep up to date with what children find ‘cool’ and exciting these days. That’s why I have conversations with the children and find out about the things they like doing. I ask questions to understand the things I have no idea about. Technology has had a profound impact on children and families, what they do for fun, how they learn and how their development is influenced. Everything they learn, they will learn from somewhere! Unfortunately, not all sources are good ones and I consider it a real responsibility to undo some of the negative influences and replace those influences with love and light- in whichever way I can.
5. Let go and have fun!
Life is to be lived! A Children and Families Worker is someone who holds the hands of those journeying through life, encouraging and loving them. Putting on craft activities are a great way to engage, planning stories and eating food is always an effective way to get to know families- but what’s the point if we are not having fun? Serving and living for God is exciting, the adventure of the unknown can be scary at times, but knowing that God is with me, gives me a peace that tells me I have nothing to fear. This elicits a joy that must be shared. Fun is contagious and I do my best to share it!