All Saints Church in Hataitai has just had an explosion in the number of missionaries in the church – and they’re all under the age of 18. The children in the church have been using “A Sent People,” the diocesan Lenten studies, to explore the idea that mission is something they can do every day, in every part of their lives.
Hayley Denoual, children’s ministry leader at All Saints; says that the children looked at Jesus’ Great Commission as a co-mission: “We are all called as disciples to work together on God’s great mission,” Hayley said. This realisation led the children to have an “aha!” moment: “We’ve moved away from the idea that mission is something that can only be done overseas, and only by selected, professional missionaries.” As the children explored what mission is, they began to see themselves as missionaries and documented their learning on the poster featured in this photo. “We learned that what and who God loves, is what and who we should love and care for as well – and that’s mission too,” Hayley describes.
But the learning did not stop there. The group used the series as an opportunity to empower their young leaders to disciple the younger children, who in turn were led in an exercise of mission: the poster workshop was led by Anneke and Rebecca (aged 16 and 14 respectively), and they encouraged the other children aged from 6 to 11 to add their own pictures of their ideas of mission, from helping a friend at school, to helping Mum in the kitchen and recycling as a way of caring for the environment. And recently, one of the church’s young leaders, Aoife (aged 14), led an activity making biscuits for the children to give away to members of the congregation who are servants of God – such as the church’s worship leaders, ushers and those who look after the church property and buildings.
Hayley says the Lenten series has been a fruitful exercise both for the adults leading it and for those using the intergenerational studies. She wants to express a huge vote of thanks to those who designed it, for the way has built on everything they have been doing in years prior, and for the exciting new batch of missionaries it has produced in her church!