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V Victoria B ranch Matte rs May 2014 Vol 8 No 4 Brad Jackson involved with the church Summer School

Never underestimate children’s ministry

I

State Director

t was an amazing group of young evangelists and Christian leaders-in-training. We were forming a new pastoral care group at the start of another academic year at Ridley. As usual we went around the group sharing our testimonies of conversion and stories of journeying towards full-time Gospel ministry. By the time we got to the end, we realised that every single one of us had been influenced by a godly, faithful Christian children’s minister. Never underestimate the strategic importance of children’s ministry. “Hear my child, your father’s instruction; and do not reject your mother’s teaching” – Proverbs 1:8. Proverbs goes on to underscore the value of godly parenting and instruction of young ones. What we teach and model for our children about God, grace, forgiveness in Christ, Gospel mission in life… these stick for life. I was converted in a Presbyterian Sunday School in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. It seemed to me that all my teachers were either returned missionaries or missionaries in training. Unsurprisingly, the Gospel message was proclaimed and modelled. I felt – and can still feel – the love that those teachers had for me and all the children in their care. They loved us, because Jesus first loved them. They shared that message of love and forgiveness and mercy and care very effectively in word and deed. Ask me, and I will show you the Sunday School materials and gifts that I received from them, and that I treasure still.

My family moved to Johor Bahru on the southern end of West Malaysia when I was nine. It was there, in a local Methodist church with a strong Sunday School and Wei-Han Kuan youth fellowship, that my whole family – mum, dad, older sister and myself – were baptised at the one service in August 1987. Later in Australia, it was in the context of a young adult ministry at St Matthias’ Anglican Church, North Richmond and at Melbourne University’s Christian Union that I kept growing as a Christian. My wife Valerie and I met doing children’s and youth ministry at church.

Never underestimate children’s ministry Planting the seed Growing leaders for Rwanda Children’s Ministry on the Front Foot

For your diary

Children are our future. Young people matter. Children’s, youth and young adult ministries matter. How effectively we communicate the Gospel and call for conversion and radical discipleship from people at a young age matters. That’s why every local church worth its salt should be investing heavily in children’s ministry. That’s why CMS invests heavily in children’s, youth and young adult ministries. Decisions made for Christ in our earliest age, steadily nurtured and carefully mentored along the way, can – under God – lead to a lifetime of amazing Christian service and adventure with the Lord. Please pray that God would bless and prosper the work of CMS among children and young people all around the world. Pray especially for conversions and for radical life-long Gospel workers for the Lord’s global harvest field.

CMS VICTORIA 630 MITCHAM RD MITCHAM, 3132 9894 4722 vic@cms.org.au cms.org.au/vic


Pentecost

Mission

Planting the seed Every year at Pentecost we ask you, our members and supporters, to give generously to keep sending missionaries to where they’re needed as a gift over and above what you may give during the year. 1 John speaks about why our missionaries go and why we support them: “We love because He first loved us.” God’s love changes lives – often through the missionaries you support. In our letter to come later in May, you will read of people who have experienced this life-changing love and are now serving Jesus because of your support for CMS missionaries. Please give generously as you can this Pentecost as we seek to enable our current missionaries and our future missionaries to serve God because of the life-changing love they have received.

www.cms.org.au/vic/pentecost

Staff Tim Dehn returned to CMS last November to help with SUTS and project manage the office move to Mitcham. Tim will continue on at CMS responsible for partnership development. Tim says “Partnership development is about our supporters – those faithful individuals, churches and groups who pray for CMS; who care for our missionaries in a myriad different ways; and who give generously, tirelessly and faithfully so that others may go in Christ’s service.”

Brad and Michelle Jackson have been serving in Japan for seven years with Higashinada Baptist Church where they share children’s ministry. Brad also works with KGK student ministry at the university.

M

ari started coming to church last month. It was the first time she had been to church in 40 years. She grew up going to church, but walked away in her youth. After her husband died last year, the gospel seed that was planted in her childhood began to sprout, and she is now attending church and Bible study, eager to learn more about Jesus. Mari’s story illustrates how vital children’s ministry is in God’s global mission. We may not see fruit immediately but that doesn’t mean it has been worthless. We can have confidence that the seed planted will remain until God’s Spirit is ready to bring spiritual growth. Children’s ministry is essential in cross-cultural mission. Children are gifts from God, and we are entrusted with their spiritual development. The majority of those who believe in Christ came to know the Lord between the ages of 4 and 14. Ministry to children must be one of our top priorities in mission.

Growing young disciples It is such a blessing to see children progress through Sunday school to youth group, make a personal decision to follow Christ, and then onto leadership themselves. Our goal is to grow all people to maturity in Christ, including children who will serve. At church we encourage children to serve. They play music, pray publicly, run the PowerPoint, help collect the offering and Reiko became a give to missions. Christian in high school Reiko became a Christian in high school and is now teaching Sunday school and developing as a Bible teacher. Reaching out Children’s ministry also enables us to reach out to unchurched families. Our children have opened the door to many new friendships through kindergarten and school and been a great evangelistic help. Last night we had an Easter party at church and most of the non-church families who came are friends we’ve made through our children. The Kids Adventure Club ministry at church has also enabled us to reach Japanese dads, one of the most unreached people groups in one of the most unreached nations in the world.

Children’s ministry can help support godly parenting. Parents are primarily responsible for the spiritual formation of their children, but they don’t have to go it alone. Sharing resources, providing encouragement and good quality teaching on Sundays can add to what is happening at home. Furthermore, at the Higashinada Baptist Church (HNBC) there are several kids who do not come from Christian homes, so Families at Kids Adventure Club Serving in children’s what they receive on ministry is a blessing, Sundays is the extent of their spiritual but often requires a lot of patience. It nutrition. can sometimes seem fruitless but it’s Supporting church growth essential for God’s mission. Where will At HNBC we’ve observed how children’s our future pastors, missionaries and influential leaders come from? Sunday ministry fosters church growth. When School. Let’s make ministering to we noticed that many families were children one of our top priorities as we sporadic in attending church, our work towards a world that knows Jesus. response was to boost our children’s ministry. We developed a family friendly service that enables children to participate easily. As a result we are seeing more families attending services more consistently, Sunday school is full and leaders are in demand.

To support Brad and Michelle Jackson in their ministry go to give.cms.org.au/jacksonbm or contact Jothi on 9894 4722.


Mission

Book Review

Growing leaders for Rwanda Catherine Walker has been serving in Rwanda with Tim for 4 years. Catherine is training teachers in the local school and assisting with developing better teaching techniques.

A

pril 2014 marked the 20-year anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. In April 1994, 100 days of horror began when the president’s own Hutu extremist party shot down his plane and then used the leadership structure within Rwanda to systematically slaughter the Tutsi minority and moderate Hutus. By July almost a million people had been killed, there were a million refugees and a million orphans. Rwandans were a broken people with no trust for their neighbours, filled with anger and hatred, and had so much horror in their memories that it was hard to see how the country would heal. Rwanda today

president, and know how to respect and challenge authority when appropriate, as Christ did. Even more importantly, they will be better equipped to love their neighbour as themselves, regardless of difference. Bishop Nathan Gasatura has this vision to change a generation in his heart. He is starting a crèche, nursery (kindergarten), primary school and girls’ secondary school in Butare with a mission to develop godly leaders for Rwanda. I am part of the team assisting him in making this vision a reality, under God. My role involves overseeing the teaching and learning. As I write, our team is encouraging the children at Grace Crèche and Nursery School to know and love their saviour.

Twenty years on, Impacting the Rwanda has amazed community the world. It has In addition to been strongly led by strengthening the a largely benevolent faith of Christians, dictatorship that has we hope that the preached forgiveness, diocesan school will encouraged unity Bishop Nathan and his wife Florence help spread the gospel and polished Rwanda in the community. opening donations from Australia like a shiny button. It for Grace Crèche Parents from other has clean streets, low religious backgrounds corruption and a well-ordered society. are willing to send their children to But how deep does the shine go? How our school in order to receive a good clean are people’s hearts? quality education. Just this week I spoke Rwandans are taught from an early to a Muslim neighbour, and her little age to obey authority without question. boy, who now wants to bring her child What happens if the people in charge to our pre-nursery class. From my own stop ordering reconciliation and start experience in a Christian school in a ordering division? Will people obey? poorer area of Melbourne, there are Unless the constitution changes, the wonderful opportunities for evangelism current government will step down in in schools like this. Children have an 2017. There is a lot of fear about what open and willing faith. As Jesus said, will happen then. “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little Changing a generation child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17) Now is the time to get involved in Bishop Nathan will be visiting Australia shaping tomorrow’s leaders for later this year to raise support for the Rwanda. Our desire is to see children school. Please pray for his trip and for making their identity in Christ more the diocesan schools as they begin. important than their identity as part of a class, tribal group or gender. Then they will allow the miracle of forgiveness to To support Tim and Catherine Walker affect the deepest parts of their lives, in their ministry place God’s authority above that of go to give.cms.org.au/walkertc their village chief, army general or or contact Jothi on 9894 4722.

Children’s Ministry on the Front Foot Zachery Veron Apa Anglican Press Australia 2013 Review by Karen Winsemius Children and Families New Peninsula Baptist

Children’s Ministry on the Front Foot is an easy-to-read guide which covers a large range of topics relevant to kids’ ministry today. Each chapter is written by an expert in children’s ministry, which has allowed a great variety of different church styles and experiences to be shared throughout the book. This format also acknowledges that no one program will fit every situation, rather it encourages people to learn the underlying principles and put them into practice in a way that is appropriate for their own context. I loved the variety of topics covered in this book. From the big picture ideas like people before programs, placing the bible in the centre of each ministry, strategic planning and vision setting to the nitty gritty of how to write a kids’ talk and why puppets are the best thing ever. Children’s Ministry on the Front Foot really does cover the spectrum of ministry to children. To fit all this in a 230-page book, the authors have each given a snapshot of their chosen topic, which means they are only able to scratch the surface of it rather than explore at a deeper level. The application guide directs the reader on where to from here, but it does feel a little bit like being given entrée with no mains or dessert to follow. A children’s ministry enthusiast will be encouraged by this book for its honesty, breadth of topics covered and its focus on teaching the bible. It’s a great starting point for anyone who comes into regular contact with children as it encourages theological reflection as well as covering many of the practical aspects of children’s ministry. Overall, Children’s Ministry on the Front Foot is a bit like the old-style corner store; it’s quick and convenient, it has a little bit of everything.


Diary

Bendigo Autumn Weekend 23 - 25 May Holy Trinity, Keck St. Flora Hill This year’s CMS Autumn Weekend explores the theme of God’s heart for the world through Bible studies in 1 and 2 Samuel, presented by Andrew Grills. Andrew is lead pastor of the new church-plant, City on a Hill Geelong. The Bendigo Autumn Weekend is at Holy Trinity, Flora Hill and will feature missionaries Ken and Ally Thompson, serving in Mondulkiri, Cambodia, David and Prue Boyd, preparing to go to DR Congo and Luke and Jane, preparing to go to Asia. There will be a kids’ program during the Saturday and Sunday sessions. Flower Drum Massacre with Robert and Linda Banks Sunday 4th May 2013, 12:30pm Join us for lunch and hear the story of the two St Hilary’s sisters who were martyred in China. Robert Banks is the author of numerous books including View From the Faraway Pagoda.

New Offices Open Day - Saturday 21 June CMS supporters are invited to come and see the new offices at 630 Mitcham Rd, Mitcham. We will have morning tea between 10 am and 12 noon and officially open the centre at 11.30 am. Missionary Care Fellowship Wednesday 14 May at Holy Trinity Doncaster, 106 Church Road (corner Doncaster Road), Doncaster. Wei-Han Kuan will be sharing on the work of CMS Victoria. Come at 10 am for a ‘cuppa’ before the meeting. 1MPG (First Monday Prayer Group) Monday 5 May, BYO lunch and a cuppa at 12.30pm and then we pray for the hour 1-2pm. Prayer for God’s worldwide mission at St James’ Church, 21 Bemboka Road, Croydon Hills. All welcome. Contact Hugh Prentice on 9014 0968. Prayer for the Muslim world St Andrew’s Hall, 190 The Avenue, Parkville First Friday of the month with staff and residents. 6pm pot luck dinner for 7-9.30pm prayer. Send an sms to 0488 101 470 if you’re coming.

Cost: $10 donation for lunch suggested Venue: Education Centre, St Hilary’s Kew 12 John St, Kew, 3101 Commissioning David and Prue Boyd Commissioning Service and Afternoon Tea Sunday 1st June at 2pm St Hilary’s Kew, John Street, Kew.

Pentecost Prayer Meetings Please consider running a Pentecost prayer meeting at your church around Pentecost Sunday (8 June). Contact CMS and we will provide you with a DVD featuring CMS missionaries, a Powerpoint and a booklet of missionaries’ prayer points and a response form. We prefer to send this out electronically, so please contact us on 9894 4722 and let us know what you require. We value your prayer and look forward to hearing from you.

Giving Electronically To support CMS financially through internet banking is easy and costs nothing to process, so all your dollars go to support CMS. Three options: Direct Credit: Westpac BSB 033-112 Account 280677 Remember to put the missionary’s name in the transaction description field!

Direct Debit: Go to www.cms.org.au/vic/give/directdebit, download the form, complete and send it to the office. Credit Card: go to give.cms.org.au and follow the prompts. We pay a fee on each transaction with this option.

Branch Matters May 2014  

This edition we look at ministry to children and its importance.

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