Leaders to help children of the Church “fall in love with God forever”
What does it take to help children “fall in love with God forever”?
When children’s ministry leaders from across the Estonian Conference of the Adventist Church came together at the Estonian Children’s Ministry Seminar (ECMS), they sought not only to be inspired, but also to discover a holistic understanding of how to help children develop lasting faith.
Held April 1-3, 2022 in Simisalu, Estonia, the training, led by Karen Holford, director of Trans-European Division (TED) Family, Women, and Children’s Ministries, covered a variety of topics, including the emotional intelligence, understanding the adolescent brain, and creative spirituality.
“My main goal is to help people think about the simple things they can do to help children grow spiritually,” Holford said. “I don’t want to put a heavy burden on people’s shoulders; instead, I want to show them how easy it is to transform children’s lives and help them fall in love with God forever.
Afraid of forgetting some of the ideas shared, Külli Keel, a mother of three young children, decided to write down a long to-do list for herself. “One big idea that I take away is to try to reinforce my positive traits and those of my children,” Keel said.
Eve Nõmm found it “impossible not to get angry!” Nõmm said she appreciates that the focus of the seminar is always on God. “It was like a mix of family therapy and a spiritual ‘hackathon,'” she said, referring to events that bring people together to solve problems or improve a product.
The director of the Estonian Conference’s children’s ministry, Aiki Pärna, said she was looking forward to the lifting of pandemic-related health restrictions so that the seminar could take place. Delighted that the leaders can finally meet again, she challenged the twenty-five participants: “Take three ideas and put them into practice in your house church, and this weekend will have been a success!” she says.
Here’s a sampling of three take-home ideas from the training event:
- At bedtime, ask the children where they saw God working today. Ask them to list three things they want to thank God for, or three things that went well. Share with them something positive you noticed about them during the day and make sure they go to sleep feeling loved, happy, blessed and peaceful.
- Learn the twenty-four different character traits that are valued in every culture. Develop your characters together as a family and be aware of when your child is showing any of these strengths. Congratulate and affirm their good choices! Find fun and creative ways to build these strengths in your child’s life (especially kindness).
- Make Sabbaths a delight at home and at church! Involve children creatively in your church services and choose Sabbath activities that will appeal to them. The more delicious and enjoyable the Sabbaths are for our children, the more likely they will choose to follow Jesus.