On the morning of Saturday 16th May 2015, I set off for the New Wine Kids leaders training day at Christchurch Purley. With me were Marcus Hockley, (Children’s Pastor from St Peter’s Battersea) and Denise Hersey, a member of the St Peter’s Kids team. New Wine is a Christian summer conference for families which aims to equip the Church to do the work of God’s Kingdom through, worship, ministry and teaching. As a conference, New Wine originated from David Pytches (former vicar of St Andrew’s Chorleywood) meeting John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard group of Churches and a former member of 70’s band, The Righteous Brothers. New Wine is also a leadership network that aims to unite churches to see God’s Kingdom grow in the UK and the world.
On arrival we were warmly greeted and welcomed with pastries and coffee, always a good start! We were then invited to Worship, lead by a full band, followed by a thought provoking talk which led us in to the seminars with the question: If you could ask God for one thing, what would it be? We were encouraged to reflect on this within the context of our calling as Children’s Pastors.
The first workshop I attended was Digital worship. This was filled with inspiring and easy to use ideas for communicating the Bible through digital media. The seminar included examples of an interactive creed, Easter story and Nativity made using Power Point with animated pictures, church members in costume along with children’s voices narrating the stories. It does take time to put one of these together, but is a fantastically inclusive way of presenting the familiar Bible stories and liturgy in new ways.
The next workshop was on puppet ministry, it was great to discover that this resource is still available as I experienced puppet ministry when younger. We learnt how to use peepers which are eyes you put on your fingers that you move in time to worship music. It’s amazing how much emotion can be conveyed through simple hand gestures using a puppet!
Meet the lambs, who sang to us about God’s love!
The final seminar I attended was on School’s outreach entitled, CSI Easter. This is a pilot program which Churches can invite primary aged children in years 4-6 to attend in order to investigate what happened to Jesus’ body; ‘The case of the missing body.’ CSI Easter gets children to examine finger prints, evidence in a science lab, the crime scene itself and individual eyewitness statements. It is a fantastic way of exploring the Easter story, especially for non-Church schools! We had the opportunity to explore the different scenes and conduct our own investigation, which was so much fun!
Marcus and Denise both went to different seminars throughout the day so that we could all share and feedback what we had learned and been encouraged by. The morning seminars were entitled ‘It’s not all about the numbers’, (a seminar for churches who minister to smaller groups of children), ‘Engaging children with the Holy Spirit’ (giving practical guidelines on how to help Children encounter God’s love and power rather than just learn lots of information about Him). Before lunch there was also a seminar called ‘Use the voice God has given you!’ which taught attendees how to use their voices more effectively in ministering to children.
After lunch there was ‘Inter-generational worship’, full of practical, tried and tested wisdom on how to do all age worship well.
The day ended with a final slot of sung worship and a keynote from Mark Griffiths, UK director of children’s Ministry for New Wine. Through brilliant storytelling, Mark encouraged us to put down whatever weighed heavy on our hearts so that we can carry out children’s ministry with a sweet nature and a light heart. We were given the opportunity to write down what was weighing us down, rip it up and put it in the bin. For those who wanted to allow God the space and time to fill them afresh with His Spirit and love, there was a lovely team of people on hand to offer prayer ministry.
An amazingly refreshing day, I certainly left feeling inspired and renewed!
Families & Children’s Minister