You might be forgiven for thinking things go a bit quiet in the children’s ministry over the Summer. Not so! During the first week of the break, church was transformed into our Under the Sea holiday club. A hundred children between the ages of 5 and 11 joined of for 3 days of fun, games and bible teaching. Our deep-sea theme was inspired by our key bible verse, Isaiah 40: 12 which in turn inspired our motto, “God is all loving, all powerful and bigger than anything we can imagine!”. Laura, Helen and I love nothing better than coming up with lots of themed games and activities, which this year involved junk modelling sea creatures, fishing from the balcony, sand art, clay modelling, drama and of course, lots of water games. The children (and some of the team) particularly enjoyed this during the on-going heatwave! Our teaching programme covered the stories of creation (God is bigger), Jonah (God is all loving) and Jesus walking on water (God is all powerful), it was wonderful to see the children engaging with the stories, for some children to whom they were well-known, to be able think about them afresh and consider what they might mean for their own relationship with God. It was a privilege to be sharing the stories with some children for the first time. After hearing the story of creation, there was one young girl who matter of factly announced “I don’t believe in God”. On the third day, when invited to write or draw what they had discovered about God during their 3 days with us, the same girl wrote “God is the God who loves us.” We continue to give thanks for that little girl and pray that she would know that love daily in her life. With almost half of the children with us not regular members of St John’s or having no contact with a church at all, it was exciting to see God moving so tangibly. I have to say though, the thing that brings me most joy about holiday club, is the way in which it brings people of all ages together in fun and fellowship. We had the biggest number of youth volunteers of any year yet, our most senior volunteer in their 80’s and many wonderful people in-between. Thank you to all of them, we literally couldn’t do it without you!
Throughout the Summer, there is the challenge of hosting six all-age services across the Sunday mornings. I call it a challenge because it is not always an easy task putting together a service that will appeal to all ages, but it is (to me anyway!) an exciting one. It’s a great opportunity to invite a variety of people to take part, bringing their own gifts and ideas. During the series exploring how we give glory, honour and power to God (Rev 4:11) by fulfilling the purpose we were created for, we had a Bacardi moment, learned how different people were serving the church and beyond, hunted for chocolate coins, came together in praise and worship and enjoyed spending time together as a church community.
Did you know that St John’s was temporarily turned into a film studio over the Summer? We are so blessed to have a worship pastor who is willing to share his time and talents with the youngest members of the church. Each year for the past few years, Marcus has written a new song especially for holiday club. We now have a small collection of fantastic children’s worship songs that it would be selfish to keep to ourselves! It was Marcus’ vision that we should film a video for each of the songs, complete with actions so that they can be used as resources for any of our kids’ groups or other churches or schools. Our very professional set up included not just a camera, but a smoke machine, bubble machine and even a green screen! Our newly dubbed ‘actions team’ had a great time filming and experimenting with all these special effects. Watch this space!