In Auckland I visited Karen Warner and Rachel Roche. Karen is the National Team Leader for Baptist Children & Family Ministries. Rachel is conducting research on behalf of Carey Baptist College and also involved in their ministry formation program. I had recently met Karen and Rachel at our “Reimagine Faith Formation” events in Sydney with John Roberto last August. It was great to see them again and we had a wonderful chat.
A New Zealand Children’s Ministry Network has developed among the Baptist, Presbyterian and Anglican Churches and Scripture Union. It exists for mutual support, planning and resourcing. The Bible Society and Messy Church are also part of the network. One of the positive developments is the sharing of training geographically – training events being offered by one member are advertised across all networks. A number of them participated in the Australian “Leaders To Go” Conference in 2015 and this encouraged them to strengthen their national networking across the churches and para-church organisations.
The Baptist Children and Family Ministry website is here. They seek to resource churches through the website, the bimonthly Baptist magazine, a BCFM quarterly newsletter, a monthly email, national gatherings, local cluster groups, and a closed ecumenical Facebook group. They work across 7 regions and have 3 regional coaches.
We talked about a whole range of similar interests – the potential of being an intergenerational church (and the puzzle of why this has surfaced now), the North American “Faith Forward” initiative, looking to engage beyond Sunday mornings, opportunities for engaging children and families with digital technologies, healthy/safe church training, etc. We also talked about their links with Baptist Youth Ministries.Continue Reading