Where are all the kids? In school of course!
Jaide Miller is one of our junior leaders at 8:30 Carina kids church in the pre-primary class. A student at Balmoral State High School, she hung out with the chaplain, Gary, a lot. As their relationship grew, he suggested that she come to an Outbreak camp. The camp for high school kids is organised by the chaplains in a cluster of schools in the area.
“I heard about it as thought why not give it a try! I was nervous at first but I got through it and thought that becoming a Christian is what I wanted to be.”
She became a Christian on the camp a few years ago. Because there were Creek Road leaders, including Chris Pine and a few other leaders from Creek Road at the camp, she started coming to church, and from there, started coming to Youth. When she became a Christian, she had never seen the inside of a church before. Now she is in a youth growth group, in Grade 12 and serving as a junior leader at 8:30 kids church in the pre-primary class.
That’s how relationships with local schools, chaplains and Creek Road work together to bring people to know Jesus.
The relationship with chaplain Mal from Camp Hill State School means a lot of kids come to Kids Connect on Friday afternoons due to our connections there.
Why We Reach Out To Kids In Schools
Jesus loves kids. Jesus loves teenagers. And so do we as a church. And we want many of the kids and youth in our city to come to know the love of Jesus. So where do we go to reach them? Where are all the kids? The schools of course! Almost all kids and youth in Brisbane are in the schools. So if we are serious about reaching this city for Jesus, it is a no-brainer that we should be involved in our local schools.
And that is what we do. We have been involved in local schools around Carina for many years. We as a church have for years taken an unprecedented step to employ someone to help us engage with kids, youth and families in our local schools. Helen Webb has been that person, brilliantly building relationships within our local schools. The access we have in local schools through RI (religious instruction) classes and chaplaincy is a brilliant opportunity that we want to make the most of every single week.
Helen works three days a week in our local schools. She works with local chaplains. She coordinates and trains a team of RI teachers. She helps kids and families connect into Kids Connect on Fridays and Community Connect, our program for kids during the winter school holidays. Much of this relational ministry takes many years to bear fruit, but I am so glad that we as a church are committed to playing the long game in order to reach kids and families for Jesus. But in all this Helen is not alone. Helen has a great team of people around her making all this ministry happen. And in exciting news we are starting to stretch ministry in local schools beyond just Carina. Through our South Bank campus we do RI in West End State School now, building on some pioneering work that Gemma Cardew did there.
And all this schools ministry is not just in primary schools. We have some of our people working alongside chaplains in high schools to run breakfast clubs, do lunch time Bible studies and run camps, all of which are ministries that bear fruit in the long term. It is no accident that we have had many Balmoral SHS students become Christians and join us at Creek Road Youth, like Jaide. This is simply the result of many years of presence at that school alongside the chaplain.
On the subject of chaplains it has been great to be able to strategically support chaplains in our local schools. We will continue to do that with our people resources. In recent years we have also been able to support them financially. We have 6 schools where we have been funding the chaplains $1000 per year – Camp Hill SS, Mayfield SS, Carina SS, Whites Hill State College, Balmoral SHS, and Cavendish Road SHS. But the sad news is that with the financial challenges before us, as a church we have had to cut that funding this year. In order to reduce our budget we have had to reduce our own staffing in a number of ways, so we are also reducing our funding of chaplains. We are reducing that funding to $500/year for each of the 6 chaplaincy services.
This makes me sad. It is a rare opportunity we get in the schools and I would love to see us generously supporting chaplains in our local schools. I would love that we could again be generous as a church to support our partners in ministry in the local schools. We will be revisiting this amount in November and I pray that we can all step up in our generosity so we can be of more support to our local chaplains financially. Regardless we will still support them through all sorts of practical ways with our people. We even host a prayer afternoon tea with local chaplains once a month to support them in what can often be a very isolated ministry.
There are so many more stories that could be shared, but suffice to say our ministry in local schools is very strategic. It is where the kids are. And through it we can play a part in reaching this city for Jesus. If you would like more info or to explore helping out in any way please let me know. But it would be great if everyone could keep supporting all our schools ministry through prayer.
By Chris Pine, Kids, Youth & Young Adults Director