The functions of the department are: to co-ordinate the work of Sunday School; to organize courses for Sunday school teachers; to organize diocesan Sunday school rallies; prepare budget for the department; seek ways of raising funds for department; and seek way and means of evangelizing children within.
The Children ministry department has the following four Programmes:
- The Brigade: This is an international, uniformed, interdenominational, Christian organization for boys and girls aged 5-19 yrs. It is programme that is based on the Four Square Programme that helps children develop skills that help them acquire social and life skills that they need to grow up wholistically.
- 2. Sunday School: This is mainly concerned with the Christian formation of the children though teaching and evangelization of the children.
- Vuka: Is a new programme started in December 2019 for the transitioning of class 8 (Vuka to Teens, V2T) and Form 4 (V2A) for girls and boys as they prepare to join high school and College respectively. For V2A, the boys are expected to undergo circumcision while the girls go through an alternative rite of passage. This is a programme that can be done at the diocesan, parish or local church level as may be appropriate. The goal is to have the church getting seriously involved in this lifetime transitions by providing personnel and resources to be used in the transitioning. It is ideally a one-year programme which involves the parents and the church leadership.
- Holiday Bible Teachings (HBT or Holy-BiTe): The HBT (or popularly referred to as VBS) is another programme that the ministry would wish to see established in every local church. This is a one-week programme that is held every school holiday to teach the children the word of God. The Sunday School teachers need to prepare for it and material for the programme provided by the Diocesan Children Ministry office. In our diocese this programme is called HBT (Holy Bible Teachings). There also Bible clubs are programmes held at homes or in the church once a week that is not part of the Sunday, Sunday School programme. It’s a programme for evangelization and discipleship and happens in very few churches.
- The ministry has not been able to have any teachers conference for the last two years because of financial and COVID-19 constraints
- Lack of pastoral care for the children and Sunday school teachers
- There have been no working committees in most parishes and local churches and at the Deanery and Archdeaconry level.
- Teaching material availability is a serious challenge.
- No guided budgets for the ministry in both the parish and local church level
- Lack of adequate and committed trained teachers who should be commissioned
- Lack of male teachers is phenomenal and mentors for both the children and teachers
- Lack of involvement of the parents in how the children are served in the church
- Lack of classrooms for teaching children appropriately
- Poor payment of quota to sustain and support the diocesan programmes and services
- Many children are unreached after the first closure of church in 2020
- Lack of well-organized transitioning classes based on age, or other achievements made by the child.
Ways to Overcome the Challenges
- Seeks to have serious partnership with both the Women and Men ministries. We believe that church is a family of believers and both men and women, mothers and fathers should have keen interest in the spiritual life of their children. Both ministries have a mandate to ensure that families bring up godly children as part of the vows the men and women take. The congregation is the guardian of the children by virtue of the promises they make during baptism of the children and therefore has a responsibility to ensure their members are available to teach and mentor the boys and girls.
- The ministry recommended the use of the Nairobi Diocese Children materials for uniformity and cost effectiveness three copies for Ksh.1,000.00.
- Build capacity by training TOTs at Archdeaconry level.
- Ensure there are working committees at the parish, deanery and archdeaconry levels
- Get contacts of the parish chairpersons to enhance fellowship
- Train clergy on matters affecting children for their enhanced participation and support
- Train and commission Sunday school teachers
- Train and commission Brigade officers and enroll children in Brigade
- Involve the youth in the children ministry to ensure a continued volunteering programme aimed at having available Sunday School teachers in in the future. The youth must be mentored and supervised by mature Pastoral Committee.
- The church must come up with a programme to appreciate the teacher, not in the form of paying them, but motivating them.
- The Diocese entered into a partnership with “Discipleship for the Good Shepherd-Africa” (DGS-A) which trained 11 diocesan TOTS. The diocese has trained 21 Deanery TOTS for the implementation of the programme in our parishes and local churches.
- In future, we wish to partner with “Child Evangelism Fellowship” on resource preparation and evangelism of children of children.
- Puppeting as a means of presenting the gospel.
- Acquire donors for various programmes
- Develop our diocesan Sunday school teaching material
- Incorporate catechism into the Sunday School Sunday teachings and encourage confirmation before transition to secondary school
- Build capacity of clergy and Lay Readers and LCC members on the need to build and invest in Children Ministry.
- Use electronic media as a means of reaching children.
- Start a course in children Ministry for Children workers
- Start parenting classes
- Build capacity in counselling skills for all children workers
- Adopt Provincial Children Workers Policy and develop a Diocesan Policy for Children Workers
- Have Income-generating Project
- Create avenues for talent identification and development, such as, marathons, football, etc.
- Involve children involved in Anglican Green Movement
- Have initiatives that raise money for children Mission and Evangelism by the children
- Trained the commissioned Lay Readers who will focus on Children Ministry
- Follow children to school by offering pastoral care for the children by clergy, Lay Readers, and Sunday School teachers in a programme referred to as, ‘Adopting-a-School.