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Presentation by Katherine Lyddon Diocesan Children’s Work Adviser Employing a Children’s and Families Worker
Christ among the children Emil Nolder 1910 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “ Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left. Matthew 19:13-15
Children involved in church 1830 1 million 1850 2 million 1880 4 million 1910 6 million 1998 500 000
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. Matthew 18:10-14
Is your church treating children like fish? -stocking the freezer for use in the future? -Keeping the fish in the net (containing and entertaining)? -or just moving them from aquarium to aquarium (catching children from other churches)? Don’t be afraid; from now on you will be catching people Luke 5:10
In Luke 5:4-9 Jesus orders his disciples to cast out into the deep, to do something new and risky. They moaned but did it anyway. The harvest was more than they could carry. Children should not be regarded as an ‘insurance policy’ Children are a blessing, an integral part of the Church of today, and a sign of the kingdom of God among us.
Matthew 28 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Not stay, but go!
Post-Christendom Those who were 10 years old in 1950 brought up their children in the 1970s when religion in schools and organizations was actively discouraged, and the traditional SS had become tired and lacklustre. They are now fast approaching retirement, and of them 70% were not in Sunday School. That means that the majority of even the elderly are non-churched.
14 80% of the average church population made a conscious decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ before the age of 14.
WORK 1980s Work was one job 9-5 5 days a week 2010 24 hours everything flexible shifts job shares 50+ hour weeks work away from home M-F multi jobs with minimum wage
FAMILY TIME Walk and talk Meals together Sunday’s together Cars (stranger danger, inadequate public transport) Eat in shifts Lone parents encouraged to work Lots of after school/ weekend activities to attend =Less talk time
FAMILY LIFE One family Extended family close by 22% Live in lone parent family 10% live with step families Swapping between 2 or more houses Grandparents far away Extended family now consists of teacher, child minder, after school club.
SUNDAYS Rest Church Only work free day House work Shopping Sports DIY Visiting relatives (no longer local)
FREE TIME Page 4,5 Play in the street Reading Family walks
TV (including in children’s room)
Computers 53% 2004
Mobile phones 25% 2004
less time talking with parents
children will text/email rather than pick up the phone and speak to others.
Children and the church today Extended working hours, dispersed and broken families, with the pressures of a consumerist society leave many families with little time together at weekends. Some parents may want to take their children to church occasionally but it is a small matter on the edge of a crowded schedule. For many more, church services are strange events with no relevance to the life of the average young family. Moreover, today's’ children are not encouraged to walk more than short distances or travel without adults, so have less opportunity to go to church on their own than was the case in previous generations.
18th century time of great change. The Industrial revolution brought movement from rural to urban and churches did not keep up. Children poor living conditions. Dawn of 19th century brought social reform and helped to protect children, Robert Raikes worked in prisons and decided prevention is better than punishment. He responded to the needs of his community by teaching in the streets on Sundays.
Church will happen at almost any time and any place.
It will be incarnational in that it will change in order to engage with children.
d) It will include worship that has a sense of the presence of God, and helps children develop their own prayer lives. e) It will be nurturing: telling the story of God’s loving relationship with his people, and ours with each other.
f) It will be inclusive in that all will genuinely be welcome. Some groups will be designed for children, while others will be for the parents and children together. g) It will be transforming, looking towards the future, because it will give each person an opportunity to worship and have a relationship with God. That changes lives.
Signs of hope After years of falling numbers and the church's having lessening contact with children, it seems that the tide is beginning to turn. Numbers are rising as more and more churches find imaginative and varied ways of letting children hear and respond to the Christian story.
Signs of hope Many schools are looking for advice on the spiritual dimension of education. Far fewer parents are refusing permission for their children to attend religious services than a decade ago. Relationships between schools and local churches is being restored.
Today, many children are learning and experiencing the Christian faith in other ways and places besides Sunday in church, and there is a growing appreciation that these forms of outreach need to be owned and resourced by the local and wider Church.
Fremington Children and Families Worker Holy Trinity with Littleham Children, Youth and Families Worker Emmanuel, Plymouth Families Minister St. Paul’s Devonport Children’s Worker Honiton Children’s Officer St. Paul’s and St George Children and Family Worker Alphington Children and Families Worker St Andrew’s Cullompton Children and Family Minister