SINGAPORE, 20 NOVEMBER 2008 — FROM ITS HUMBLE beginnings with only 30 children, City Harvest Children’s Church has grown to a ministry that influences more than 2,752 children. Fulfilling the call to lead the next generation, this dynamic and contemporary ministry focuses on developing children holistically. Beyond feeding the children spiritually, the highly creative and contemporary children’s church team covers every aspect of development: social, physical, intellectual, character and even the aesthetic, teaching children to appreciate the arts.
I am continually inspired to serve as I see the needs around me,” says Eileen Toh, who pastors the Children’s Church. “Although there are challenges, I believe that as you serve with compassion, God will renew your vision of why you are in the ministry. I once visited a four-year-old girl suffering from stomach cancer every week for two whole years before she passed away. I also know of a girl who is 15-years-old now, but because she is slower intellectually, she still attends children’s church faithfully, each time I see her, my heart is filled with compassion. We need to be a service provider to the children and that makes all the difference.
Toh, a veteran who has been involved in full-time ministry for 16 years shares four keys to success in children’s ministry.
1. The Call of God
Serving God will oftentimes involve tough times but it is during these challenges that we need to go back to the baseline — the reason why we are in ministry. Toh shared that she read a Jesus comic at the age of six and she wept, touched by God and received salvation at that young age. From this simple encounter with God, it birthed in her a desire to serve God. She shared that the call of God always starts with a desire, specifically a desire to fulfill a call to influence the next generation and that desire pushes you to move forward, be effective and step out in faith.
The moral development of a child ends at 10 years of age, that’s why when children are young, we need to catch and hold their attention to influence them. To do so, we need to get their attention via captivating programs. The Children Church’s volunteers are always on the lookout for the latest cartoons, movies, games and technology, so that they can be relevant and the be best teacher to the children.
Change is inevitable and necessary for progress. Children’s ministry workers are involved in shaping and changing the mindsets of young lives by changing the way they think. The elective programs conducted at Children’s Church are a means to achieve this goal. A former Miss Singapore Universe was invited to teach the children social etiquette and grooming; Elim Chew, owner of fashion chain 77th Street taught the children about business and social entrepreneurship.
4. Creative and Contemporary
Creativity is the ability to solve problems and do things differently. We do not want to conform to the norm but we desire to get out of the box, out of a mentality of limitation. The Children’s Church ministry is not afraid to engage culture; it is only through engagement that one garners the license to influence.
|PHOTOS: Tan Song Kow & Jayson Lee|
The Ministry showcases its contemporary edge by getting children to display their talents in sports, preaching and spelling via the Emerge Junior Competitions. The children have been involved in two exceptional musicals, When I Grow Up in 2007 and the recent Special which starred children with special needs. Special is a musical about an unlikely but touching friendship between a rebellious young girl and an intellectually disadvantaged girl.
Through such creative means and a mindset that is boundless, City Harvest Children’s Church is grooming the next generation to impact the world for God.