Spurgeon Baptist Church [SBC] has a long history of working with children & young people; there have been Junior Church groups for over 200 years, and active Boys’ & Girls’ Brigade companies for more than 80 years.
In October 2009 we appointed Ricky Rew to the newly created position of Youth Minister. He has been a member at SBC and involved in our youth work as a volunteer for 20 years, but felt called to Youth Ministry. Following three years of study at the Centre for Youth Ministry in Oxford, he gained a degree in Youth & Community Work and Applied Theology in June 2009, and was ordained as a Baptist Youth Specialist in March 2010.
Ricky’s role is to minister to children, young people and young families, and oversees the Church’s work in these areas. This includes the development of Christian programmes for young people throughout the Church and its organisations, and establishing & developing links with the wider community and local schools. The role is wide-ranging and involves work with the 0-30 age bracket. But we have a fantastic team of volunteers of all ages and stages of life & faith who work tirelessly to ensure a regular programme of activities and opportunities are available for children and young people.
Our Boys’ & Girls’ Brigade Companies work with approx 50 young people on a weekly basis (from 5-24 years old) providing a wide range of activities & opportunities – you can find out more on their websites [Boys’ Brigade & Girls’ Brigade]. Within SBC we’ve recently been reviewing how we fully include children & young people in our services and how we can encourage & facilitate worship specifically with them in mind. Our Brigades have also been involved from the start in Milton Keynes Summer Camp which has an 80 year history, and it remains a vital part of our annual programme (and has recently been changing to incorporate other groups). It provides an excellent opportunity to get to know our members better and encourage their Christian discipleship.
In our immediate neighbourhood we have one secondary school and five primary schools, and we’re excited that our work with local schools is increasing. We currently lead a weekly session at the Secondary school on Friday lunchtimes called ‘Emulate: chill’ which provides space for young people to wind down at the end of a busy week, to chat together and with the group leaders about issues which are affecting them and to develop relationships together. During the 2011 Summer term we’ll be starting an after-school group called ‘Emulate: explore’ where we can explore issues the young people are facing, provide practical support and care. At Easter & Christmas we invite seven Primary schools into the Church Centre and run (in partnership with the MK Bridgebuilder Trust) sessions which explore the true meaning of those festivals. We are also developing links with some of the village schools around Bletchley.
Ricky has recently joined the Chaplaincy Team at Oakhill Secure Training Centre, which houses young offenders aged 12-17, and attends on a weekly basis to provide pastoral support for four units of 8 young men. We also send a team from the Church to lead worship at weekly Chapel services as requested.
We are actively looking for ways to serve the children, young people & families in our local neighbourhood, through one-off events and activities, but also through long-term involvement & commitment. One recent initiative has been the creation of a team of volunteers from the Church who visit the Secondary School and provide assistance to students who struggle with reading. Volunteers spend 1-2 hours a week (in 30 min sessions) listening to students as they read, helping them when they get stuck, and encouraging them as they develop. We believe this will have a big impact not only on their future prospects as their literacy improves, but also on the self-esteem and confidence as they see they are valued & encouraged by the volunteers. We’re very excited about the possibility of expanding the scheme, doubling the number of volunteers, and increasing the impact on the school and its students.
As well as serving schools & young people in our local area, and at Oakhill STC, we work together with other churches and organisations across Milton Keynes on a number of projects. We are also involved in national events and initiatives through the Baptist Union.
This work has primarily been made possible through the support and generosity of the fellowship of Spurgeon Baptist Church, and other groups/organisations who have provided support.
If you would like more information about Youth Ministry at SBC, or would like to work together on future projects, please get in touch.