Youth ministry "taking off"

The Rev Ian Pimm says St Andrew’s Waipukurau’s children and families ministry has started heading in a new direction.

Earlier this year, the church was granted $60,000 (plus an interest-free loan of $60,000) from Press Go towards a new role focusing on the “faith based” side of its booming youth and children’s work.

David and Kirsty Tilyard are sharing the role, and Ian says “things are going really well”.

Sunday morning children’s ministries are being refocused into an outreach programme, rather than being designed to look after Christian kids.

“It’s not just a nice, neat thing for Christian kids and families.

“We’re trying to integrate the ministry so that we’re not working with children in isolation from families.”

The “Rock Solid” club for children is being linked to the children’s Sunday morning programme, which is being renamed Sunday Rock.

Ian says Sunday morning is about reaching out to both children and families from non-church background, “and trying to grow that”.

The church has also recently started a new youth service called Fuel on Thursday evenings, with 50 young people coming along. Held in the hall rather than the church, Ian describes the service as “a bit different”.

He says David and Kirsty have brought resources to the ministry side of the youth and children’s work that were previously lacking. “It’s really taken off.”

More young people are starting to come to church on Sunday mornings, “because their friends are there”.

- July 2010

Press Go supports Waipukurau youth work

A new programmes coordinator for St Andrew’s Waipukurau’s booming youth ministry is being funded by Press Go.

The Rev Ian Pimm describes the new role as focusing on the “faith based” side of St Andrew’s youth and children’s work, with about 200 children and young people involved in its Sunday school and youth groups. At least another 200 are involved in the church’s community-facing work, which is managed, together with the ministry work, under the umbrella of Epic Ministries. Located in Central Hawke’s Bay, Waipukurau has a population of about 4500.

The Press Go board granted $60,000 towards the new position and has made available an additional $60,000 interest-free loan for six years.

David and Kirsty Tilyard have already been employed in the role, with David working 32 hours a week and Kirsty 16 hours. David has a management background, and both have previously been involved in the church’s children’s ministry.

Epic has five full-time youth workers, including Tama Bucknell who coordinates the community side of the work, which Ian describes as about building relationships and values. “It’s huge in terms of the opportunity we have to work with a whole lot of kids in our area,” Ian says. “The credibility we have developed is stunning.”

The church has a good relationship with Waipukurau’s high school, including mentoring students, and with the local primary schools.

David coordinates “everything overtly faith-based”, from youth group to Bible in Schools work, while Kirsty focuses on the Sunday morning children’s programmes. Both play hands-on roles, as well as managing the 40 volunteers involved.

About 50 children are part of St Andrew’s children’s church, another 70 come along to its intermediate-age programme and 70 are part of its high-school age youth group. The church also runs a Bible in Schools style programme for years seven and eight at three local schools.

Ian says that while the initial contract is for three years, it’s hoped that as St Andrew’s continues to grow, the new role will become part of its operating budget.

St Andrew’s has doubled in size in the past 10 years, and aims to double again in the next five years.

About 200 adults attend Sunday services, although about a third are away on any given Sunday, Ian says.

The church can seat only about 120 comfortably; more than that and people are put off, Ian says. At the moment, the church is full enough to inhibit further growth. But this doesn’t mean leaping into a building programme, Ian says, and the church will continue experimenting with multiple services.

“We want to put our resources into people.”

- April 2010