I love surprises (well for the most part), and certainly in the 5 years since I’ve been here, I’ve had to accept that there will be plenty of surprises along the way in regard to the Children and Young Families’ ministry. Some surprises are lovely and some can be disappointing but always they bring with them two things – change and opportunity.
One of the reasons for change when it comes to the children’s ministry is the simple fact that children grow up! And since the parameters of my job include children up to age 12 which requires all of my time, we have had a difficult time sustaining ministry for children over that age. We’ve touched on it a few times but without the help needed to carry on, we have had to let ministry to older children go. UFEE was one such group that ended like the passing of a season but on the horizon, over the past few months, a new season has come bringing with it a lovely surprise!
Some of our Thirsty Thursday kids have outgrown what happens on Thursdays but instead of leaving us, we have forged an interesting relationship with them and together have come up with a really good group for these 12 and 13 year olds – TIC (Thoughts, Inspiration and Conversation) with the strap-line ‘It’s what’s inside that counts’. Yes, a very good name that I can’t take any credit for! It was all them.
This group of middle schoolers meets at 4.00pm, 3 times monthly during Thirsty Thursday. What makes this possible has been the help we receive from Deacon Sarah. She leads this group with my help, incorporating the Roots curriculum along with loads of fun, games and hands on activities. She is so good with this group! We often comment on how much we enjoy TIC and what a gift we feel we’ve been given with these 7 boys and 1 girl. And as far as Thoughts, Inspiration and Conversation goes, we never have a shortage!
But the question will be what happens when school begins again in September? Most of these teens will be leaving the middle school. They’ve expressed their desire to continue coming to TIC but who knows what their schedules will be and so our time together may have been brief, but whatever will come,
we believe our time together was for God’s purposes and that good seeds were indeed sown in the hearts of these young lives.
And of course, we have some of our younger Thirsty Thursday children starting middle school this September, who have been watching the older kids go off and looking forward to when they can be a part of this group! So hopefully, Thirsty Thursday will continue to spill over into TIC helping us reach our goal of ministering to all ages!