What is a church without its young people? Our churches need people of all ages following Jesus together. But discipling young people in churches can be difficult.
And the past year has presented challenges to Elizabeth, the children’s minister at St James’ Anglican Church in Mount Druitt.
As a recent graduate of Youthworks College, she’s so grateful for the support of the Youthworks Ministry Support team who are hard at work supporting local churches in their ministries – including youth groups, Sunday schools, intergenerational services, and Special Religious Education (SRE) classes in local schools.
Elizabeth is thankful for the mentorship Annemarie from Youthworks has provided. She shares:
“Annemarie got in touch with me this year after we connected at the SRE conference. We’ve met a couple of times, and she’s been a great help and support by just being there, and giving me advice or materials, which has been keeping me going through challenges over that last 12 months. The Ministry Support team is a reminder and a confirmation to keep going even though it’s hard.”
While ministry to children and youth can be challenging, Elizabeth has gained resources and confidence from being connected with Youthworks:
“Other churches have shared resources because of their partnership with Youthworks, and are happy to help however they can, which is wonderful as I come from a small church. Even just knowing those resources and support are there is a big help.
“The Ministry Support team is fantastic and everyone should utilise them. They’ve got resources at their fingertips that I certainly don’t have, and they’re so open to sharing and supporting me. The team as a whole has had a lot of experience in different settings, so it’s just something that can’t compare.”
Elizabeth is particularly thankful for the support of Youthworks as part of her role involves a very challenging ministry: coordinating SRE at four local schools.
One of the teachers Elizabeth looks after is Joan Hawkins, who also attends St James’ and has taught SRE for an amazing 56 years!
Now 82 years old, Joan recognises that the support of the local church is what has enabled her ministry to continue for so long, despite all the ongoing challenges of teaching the gospel in public schools. She shares:
“You really know you belong to the body of Christ through teaching SRE – all the local churches working together – and especially all the prayer support you get.”
For so many years, Joan has been faithfully discipling students, and her work has seen many young people dig deeply into the Bible and find answers to important questions about life.
Thank you for the part you play in making it possible for Elizabeth and Joan to disciple young people – and help them become strong, faithful, and mature Christians.