As I see it … by Fiona Weckert

I can’t remember a time in my adult life when I wasn’t involved, in some way, in how young people engage with their faith and church life. Working and volunteering with this age group (the ‘first third’, 0–30 years) doesn’t make me an expert by any stretch, but it does make me quite passionate about the subject!

Fiona with her family: son Elijah, daughter Elanora and husband David.

Even before I had children of my own, my work allowed me opportunities to create a space and an experience for children in worship and I consider that a great blessing and privilege. Not all churches are that welcoming of a change to the service order and potential mess in the church (thank you Grace Lutheran Redcliffe), which is one of the reasons I love the Messy Church way of being church. It is not just for children, but for the whole family to explore their faith in a way that provides opportunities to be involved, to feel valued, to know they are able to contribute and be recognised when they put their hand up to help.

That for me, is how we help children belong. They long to feel valued for their contribution and our current model of church sometimes doesn’t even see them. Ask teenagers to be involved and help them see how they can fit. Support them when they fail and encourage them to try again. Young adults need guiding and mentoring into leadership positions. They have something to contribute and are willing to give their time if they feel it is appreciated.

One of the best things my church did for me as a new mother with young children, was to provide a time to have a Bible study with other mums (and sometimes dads) while other members of the congregation (often the ‘grandmas’) built blocks with our children, read them stories and drank countless cups of ‘tea’. It was a small snippet of time in our week to engage in the Bible, pray with others, and share life. All while our children looked on. They see us talking about our faith, they are getting to know others in the congregation (young and old) and it’s another experience of church for them.

Opportunity, creativity, and encouragement. We can’t do everything for everybody in the church, but we can do that.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labour. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:6–9 (NIV)

About the Author

Fiona Weckert

Fiona Weckert is currently working part-time as a Pastoral Care Worker at the school her son attends, and as Communications Coordinator at Walkerville Uniting Church. Volunteering at Treasure Boxes and at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Adelaide (where her husband is the chairperson). She has BA, Grad Dip Psych, MA Counselling.

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