When you hear that there will be a children’s ministry training, most thoughts gear toward Vacation Bible School. But that is only one element of children’s evangelism in Central.
Ministry training, led by Lisa Plasencia, Central’s Children’s Ministries director, explored the inner workings of group and team dynamics to strengthen relationships with each other and with their surrounding communities. Community assessment leads to better planning, and more community impact.
She explained that understanding the communities that surround our churches allows ministries to be tailored to fit its needs. If the community struggles with after school care, start a homework club. If health issues surround your church, meet those needs with health classes, a medical clinic, or cooking schools.
Plasencia uses personal stories and pitfalls she has experienced during her ministry. She illustrates functions within a group, potential tensions within a group, rules of brainstorming, nonverbal behaviors, and how the environment outside a group can affect the team.
Teams were excited to get started on planning their outreach. When the Madera and Madera Hispanic churches realized their programs would be the same week, one quickly changed theirs. Why would they do this? “We both serve the same community,” explained VBX leader, Belinda Delval. “Our churches can share resources, decorations, staff and even attendees.“
Ministry teams equipped with the tools of understanding, can now use new tools from the NAD. Cactusville: Where Kids are Called to Follow Jesus, a Vacation Bible Xperience (VBX) is a complete program for kids to experience that they are called by God. “Many churches don’t have a [VBX] budget,” explained Plasencia. “When their teams attended this year’s training, we offered a free Cactusville kit to encourage each church to hold these programs.”
Thus far, 20 churches have sent teams for the first three trainings, plus 14 of them received free Cactusville VBX kits. Fifty-six members are now equipped to strengthen the their ministry teams, connect and share ideas with others, and make plans for their community’s Vacation Bible Xperience.
By Sue Schramm