- Together Apart
- Next Gen
The last year has proved to be a huge challenge to many of us. Covid has dramatically changed the way we live our lives and the way we conduct our ministry as churches.
However, whilst this pandemic has had detrimental effects on many people, the impact on children and young people has been stark and its side effects will be evident for many years to come. Exams have been interrupted, entire curriculums have been adapted and thousands of members of the next generation now find themselves months behind where they should be academically. On top of this, the impact on their mental health is truly harrowing.
Dave Pope, of Flame Trust, believes such need creates a huge opportunity for local churches to help.
“The church must step up to the challenge and be prepared to think, minister and serve very differently in a post Covid season,” says Dave. “If the Body of Christ that is rigid and unable to re-align and engage in sharing our unchanging message for these changing times, the future must surely be uncertain. There’s no huge difference between a rut and a grave.”
One area of ministry that provides opportunity is in our schools. Students feel ‘let down’ at a number of levels and many are disillusioned, with chosen career paths disrupted and, in many cases, no longer possible. Chaplaincy provides a practical solution to enable churches to support the needs of the next generation and Dave is passionate about what chaplaincy partnerships between churches and schools can offer.
“I am privileged to be part of a Chaplaincy group that provides help and support for local staff and students, where appropriate people are able to be listening ears and act as ‘signposts’ when students and staff face the big questions. There obviously has to be an appreciation of ‘safeguarding protocols’ and a sympathetic and appropriate response to those of all faiths and those of none, but in the wake of the pandemic, there will be unprecedented opportunity for churches to engage and support local educational provision.”
As they return to school on 8th March after months out of formal education, thousands of children and young people across the Black Country will require far greater support than simply what school teachers are able to offer.
Local churches can provide essential pastoral support for schools through chaplaincy partnerships and this has never been more essential than it is now.
There are many resources out there to help support churches make contact with and engage with their local schools.
In Sandwell and Walsall, Love Black Country have released two Next Gen Champions to serve and help connect churches in the boroughs to reach the Next Generation and this includes supporting schools’ work. Ben Butterfield, Love Walsall’s Next Gen Champion and Ben Harris, Love Sandwell’s Next Gen Champion both have experience with working with schools and are happy to help. Please get in touch with them if your church is on their patch!
In Dudley and Wolverhampton, Deb Chamberlain, Love Black Country’s Next Gen Champion, has a wealth of mapping intel to help support churches who want to support their local schools. You can find all of our Next Gen Team’s details at the bottom of this article.
The Centre for Chaplaincy in Education are a national organisation who can offer many resources to help support churches in their chaplaincy ministry for schools and well worth checking out.
Finally, on much more local and personal level, if you or your church would like to know more about how to make contact, establish rapport and engage with your local school, please feel free to make contact Dave Pope and his colleague Gerry Denston who would be delighted to explain what is involved.