‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity’. 1Timothy 4:12
Throughout the last few weeks I found myself in blessed conversations of how can we help young people be in places of leadership and listening to stories of hope that are already supporting young people be the best disciples of Jesus, in their communities.
Many often presume they know what children and young people want or need and forget that they have views, opinions, ideas and concerns of their own. When many fail to listen to children and young people, they may miss out on things that can help to shape children’s ministry, youth groups, the church and even the world for the better.
Many schools have school councils where children are encouraged to represent their peers and have a say in the running of the school. Our children are growing up in an environment where they are used to being involved in decision making … until they come to church!
Participation in children’s and youth work means listening to children & young people so that they can be involved in:
- Decision making
- Evaluating impact
Especially in the things that affect them such as advocacy in social justice, future planning, mission of church, employed children’s or youth ministers to name but a few. Especially with children when we hear the sacred stories of innocence it continues to remind us that young people lean on the church not only for sunday school and youth group but a place where they feel valued and loved.
Nadine Misakabo, shares her own faith journey, and why she’s passionate about her role as a Faith Guide. ‘I want to be a Faith Guide because when I was young, I didn’t get support from my church when I needed it most. I don’t wish other young people to have that same experience. I want to create a safe space for them, where we help them stand on their own two feet, but also where they can come if they fall down. It’s not about retaining them; it’s about helping them learn to fly. And to discover along the way that God wants to help them to fly too.’ Read about her story in the link below.
There are endless creative and fun ways of encouraging children and young people to express themselves and enable adults to hear what they are saying. Lets continue to advocate and support our church in allowing young minds join meetings and sessions and have them be supported. Let the church be a space for growth and passion to overflow, in their works of justice, discipleship be a space where they feel excited about and wanting more to love our Lord Jesus Christ!
Joyce Tangi is the Field Officer (South) and Children’s/Family ministry lead as a part of the PULSE team.