We are Deb Nurse from GodFirst Christchurch and Becky Peacock and Jim Parsons from City Church Bristol. We have led the 8-11s for the last 4 years. We’ve seen God do amazing things, had incredible moments of encounter, and had the greatest thrill of influencing up to 280 kids at a time for the Kingdom.
We start planning in earnest straight after Christmas. We put together a core team of about 8-10 people who will lead specific areas: worship, teaching, sports and games programme, dramas etc and we meet about once a month, either in Dorset or in Bristol. Every time we meet, we eat together to cement our relationships.
Obviously we draw a lot from previous experience, what has worked, what is popular, and we also look at what is trending with children of this age group and what is coming up in the next year. Alongside all of that, we are seeking God in order to tie together a popular secular theme with what is on His agenda and a strong Biblical teaching base. When we meet as a team there is a lot of laughter as well as a hunger to push deeper into the things of God, and communicate spiritual truths in bite sized chunks. We feel passionately that there is no junior version of the Holy Spirit, and that if children grasp truths while they are still young, they need never bring problems into adulthood that so many of us struggle to let go of. We want our ceiling to be their floor as they grow beyond where we can get to in our lifetimes.
We have been so blessed with the people God has added to our teams in the past. We have had a professional artist illustrate our Bible stories, a professional seamstress has made our drama costumes, and an elder led worship to mention just a few! We’ve been so impressed with the innovation and time commitment of the core team leaders. The worksheet booklets take several weeks to design and put together, the drama and worship teams squeeze rehearsals into every spare moment of August, and the craft activities take hours of research, shopping, collecting and testing. We plan everything from our teaching and ministry times to our gunge victims and competitions aware that God’s presence is our priority. We always feel God puts an amazing team of workers together for us, all 70 or so of them, and know that part of the success is our deliberate team building. Everyone on the team receives at least 8 emails throughout July and August (Often sent in the small hours of the morning!) as we envision them, get to know them and call them to pray and fast for the event on the 6 Wednesdays running up to Westpoint.
The statistics speak for themselves: These children are willing to meet with God, and year on year we see their expectations rise. Individual stories of kids’ encountering Him leave us speechless. Our job is to facilitate more of this. If this excites you, and especially if you have gifting in the area of dramas, illustration or worship leading, please get in touch with us!
If you haven't booked in yet, and would like to serve in this team then when you book for the event select 8-11's as your serving option. If you have already booked in to Westpoint, and would now like to serve, please email the events team on firstname.lastname@example.org. We are particuarly looking for people to serve in the evening 8-11's session, the morning team is nearly full but we have plenty of space on the evening team!