In 2022 Natasha Weber took over the running of Children's Church from Megan Smith, and has led the dedicated team made up of Nicole Hannival, Rachel Baartman and Mike Kaole. Husbands Lee-Roy Weber and Angelo Hannival have also been a tremendous support to Natasha and the team!
A wonderful addition in December 2023 has been two Christmas plays written and choreographed by Linda Pedersen where we’ve seen the Christmas message communicated so beautifully through some great acting by our children!
We interviewed three of our Children’s Church parents about their children’s experiences of St John’s and the needs that they see.
How long have your children been coming to Children’s Church? Zoey & Rolene have been at Children’s Church since September 2023.
What has been their experience? They are so amazed - they can’t wait for Sundays to go back to church. Especially Rolene has SO many questions about the Bible - she asks a lot of questions. I tell her she must ask the pastor in church.
What do you feel is the greatest need for our Children’s Church ministry? I feel Children’s Church ministry needs some direction. There are many children but too few teachers. On Sundays when they come back into church they don’t easily listen to the teachers or arrive in a calm frame of mind. There is a need to teach basic ways of interacting with other (children and adults) around them.
How can we help your children flourish at St John’s? We just need acceptance - we are so glad to have been accepted at St John’s. I was skeptical at first when I was invited to church by Tammy. But I was surprised to discover a congregation and a family so close to home. I’ve now joined a cell group and I would like to serve and get involved in other activities that are happening in the church community.
How long have your children been coming to Children’s Church? Since Joy was born 11 years ago my children have been part of Children’s Church - so all their lives really.
What has been your experience of Children’s Church? I don’t feel our children are learning about the Bible. Other churches teach children how to pray and read the Bible and all these things, but if I ask my children what they learnt at Children’s Church most of the time they say “we played”. Sometimes they do learn about the Bible, but its not consistent.
What do you feel is the greatest need for our Children’s Church ministry? We need a church for our children where our children learn the ways of our faith and the Bible. I used to take my kids to the Catholic Church because they would receive a book and they had Bible lessons and would come and tell me what they had learnt each week. We long for our children to learn like this. We need teachers who will teach and encourage our children in the ways of our faith, focused on the Bible. By the time I was 11 I knew how to read the Bible and to pray and this was normal in our church.
How can we help your children to flourish at St John’s? There are also a lot of activities in church that we could be involving our children in - such as worship and communion.
How long have your children been coming to Children’s Church? My girls have been at Children's Church since October 2018.
What has been their experience? They loved it, and hence we stayed at St John's! My girls enjoyed the interaction and music and dance, and for me as long as they're learning more about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Bible, I'm happy. They would often ask me questions after church, related to what they had learnt that morning.
What do you feel is the greatest need for our Children’s Church ministry & how can we help our children to flourish? There are so many needs but having visited the army base a few times in the last few weeks, we need a space where our children can be safe emotionally and physically. They especially need to learn about God and His Agape love, and we can teach them hope in Christ, despite their circumstances. God has been hinting to me that the growth of our church will be through the children. Literally, “Let the children come to me.” So I've asked Lee-Roy and Natasha how I can assist them.
We need to teach them about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and how we run to the Trinity in good times and bad. I am wondering if we need a counselling service dedicated to our children as the pandemic has wreaked havoc on their mental health. I see this even in my two daughters.
Linda and I have discussed the possibility of running a drama club at church for the kiddos and teens. Linda can teach various drama skills and I wouldn't mind teaching public speaking especially for teens when doing class orals.
Another need is possibly a meal before children's church. Maybe pap/ cereal/ sandwiches in the hall. I need to give this more thought though, especially the funding and logistics.
I would also like to commend everyone who has helped build Children's Church into what it is. May it grow as God wants
In December Natasha is stepping down as head of the Children's Church team - opening up the opportunity for a new leader in this vital ministry. Please pray for Children's Church and for the right person to lead the team in this next chapter of St John’s life.
If you would like to talk with someone about Children's Church or chat about getting involved on the team (could be for 1 or 2 Sundays a month) please contact firstname.lastname@example.org