Children across the UK experienced something extraordinary in 2018 as Kids ‘n’ Things, an OM children’s ministry based in the United Kingdom, took them on an adventure to the Wild West.
The team visited two churches to run five-day long holiday clubs, with this year’s theme being “Lionheart and the Great Wild West Adventure”. Run in partnership with the churches, each club involved two hours each morning, packed full of exciting activities. Connected by the theme of the Wild West, the craft, parachute games, puppets and singing all helped to communicate the Bible story for the day.
“It’s wonderful to see the enthusiasm of the children,” shares Julian, one of the two members of the Kids ‘n’ Things team. “We give them a Bible verse to memorise each day and, on arrival the next day, you see them rushing in to find a leader who they can quote the verse to!”
“It’s that moment when the club starts and you hear the excitement,” adds Kees-Jan, the other long-term team member. “The kids absolutely love it.”
The Kids ‘n’ Things team looks to present the message of Jesus to children in a way they can enjoy and understand, and gives the children the opportunity to choose how they want to respond. “Many children have a wrong picture of who God is,” says Julian. “We want to give them a true picture of our faith.”
Often the impact of the Kids ‘n’ Things work is not seen immediately. “We’re sowing seeds,” states Julian. “To begin with, all the growth is underground, but God is working in lives and communities. Being in ministry long-term means I hear things such as, ‘Coming to a Lionheart club was the beginning of my journey to faith’. We have to remember what we do is a partnership; we provide the club, and the church builds on that foundation.”
“Once the church has contact with local families they can be invited to weekly kids’ activities that the church runs,” Kees-Jan adds. “In both of the churches we visited this summer, many families attended the service at the end of the week. On a usual Sunday, these churches see very few children.”
The journey to make a success of the clubs was not an easy one. The team relies on short-term volunteers to help run the clubs, and Kees-Jan tells that, “up to two days before we were to begin the first club, we had no extra team members.”
“It really stretched my faith,” says Julian. “I believed that God would provide, but I couldn’t stop thinking, ‘Have we crossed the line between faith and stupidity?’ I had to trust that it would work out.” Thankfully it did and, at the last minute, volunteers were found for both of the club weeks. “God’s idea of last minute is very different from our own,” states Julian, reflecting on his experience. “We also faced other obstacles like health issues, the council digging up the road and our van breaking down, but God brought us through them all.”
As the Kids ‘n’ Things team look to the future, they dream of a Kids ‘n’ Things Academy, where people can come for training in kids’ ministry. They would like to offer the opportunity to learn the theory and theology behind kids’ ministry, alongside practical experience gained through participating in Kids ‘n’ Things outreaches. They hope to equip prospective and existing children’s workers with the skills to plan and run their own programmes.
Pray for new members to join, both those skilled in children’s work and those with the ability to train others. Pray for the team’s vision for a Kids ‘n’ Things Academy. Pray for two or three people to express an interest in starting training in January or May 2019.
Is God calling you to children’s ministry? Click here to find out more information about the Kids ‘n’ Things Academy.