After the challenges of 2020 and 2021, it was so refreshing to spend a year of dedicated ministry to the children and youth of our church, Eastwood, Ermington and a little bit more. Here are a few of the highlights of 2022:
- Continued building a great youth discipleship and outreach community at Amplify – towards the end of last year we were seeing on average 20-25 youth coming each week. It was particularly encouraging to see regular attendance of Youth at Amplify who do not call themselves a Christian, but still were committed to being there. It was great to work with our leadership team at Amplify to develop this community – Braydon, Jaedan, Bec F, Jo, Josh, and our new leaders – Lily, Joelyn and Konol. In 2022 we said farewell to Josh as one of our leaders as he moved on as student minister at St Paul’s Canterbury, and we are very thankful for his impact he has had on the Youth, and the Young adults of our church community.
- Our SPARK kids club continued to thrive in 2022 – we were still able to facilitate a walking bus from Eastwood Public School to SPARK, and we now on average see 18-22 children at SPARK every week. Thanks to Braydon, one of our SPARK leaders, who ended his time as a SPARK leader at the end of 2022, after many years of being a great witness to the children there. I look forward to working with Jo and Suzanna on this ministry this year, but also raising up some new leaders to join us on Friday afternoons.
- On Sunday mornings our two children’s programmes at 9:30 and 11:00 both grew as families returned to regular onsite attendance in 2022, but also as new families joined us. It is very exciting to see lots of new faces every week, but even more than that, see those new faces settle in and feel like our children’s programmes are a safe place for them to learn and grow as followers of Jesus. Thanks to our Sunday morning teams – Suzanna, Rachel (who we farewelled in October of last year), Murray, Jo, Alex, Hamish, Asher, Steve, Xavier, Tiff Y, Bec C and Sharon, who have worked hard to faithfully teach God’s word, and welcome the children every week.
- Our Friday Friends playgroup also relaunched in 2022 – thanks to Suzanna for preparing the programme for this group each week, and also Abigail for supporting her in managing this group. Over the year we had contact with many new families, and had about 5-8 families joining us towards the end of the year.
- Other ministry highlights for children’s and youth ministry:
- Ran an afternoon discipleship group for some of our junior leaders in ministry
- Took a group of our Youth to KYCK in April
- Was able to run VKP for the first time since 2019! We had around 40 children join us over the four days.
- Took a group of 28 youth to Full On in January of 2023. With a team of 11 leaders, plus our speaker Andrew Stanford (and a visit of Bruce on a few days), we were able to have a great time away where the youth grew in faith together, but also had a great time in community together
- Had 7 of our youth and 1 of our young adults publicly confirm their faith at our confirmation service
Heading into 2023 I’m looking forward to giving more direction to our children’s ministries, particularly in how I can support families as they grow in faith together, but also in working with the team at St Mark’s to develop Sunday children’s ministry programmes for their 10am service. I’ve stepped back from running our Friday night Amplify ministry, but I will still be working with the Youth team for our KYCK weekend away, and Full On 2024. I’m also looking forward to being able to spend more time training our children’s and youth teams, particularly as we head into the year of evangelism, with lots of opportunities throughout the year to develop our skills in ministry.