Kristina Passmore – mother of Jono (4) and Micah (2), and wife of Tom – writes about the young families’ ministry happening at St Peter’s Fulham.
Noah’s Ark is our toddler playgroup that runs every Friday morning. A couple of years ago a few of the mums in the team made the very brave decision to introduce a three-minute evangelistic talk for the adults rather than the kids. They didn’t know what to expect and were prepared for people to stop coming or walk out during the talk. But praise God that didn’t happen. And because we run a subscription system, which requires people to commit to turning up each week, we get 30 or so mums and nannies hearing the gospel explained week in, week out. Not only did people not walk out, but we now have a waiting list of 20!
Last term we based our talks on song lyrics, so one week we used One Direction’s ‘Live while we’re young’ to talk about the fact that how we live now impacts our lives for the rest of eternity. If mums and nannies stay committed for a year or two, our hope is that they hear bit by bit about Jesus and the gospel. I am continually astounded and blown away by how privileged we are to be able to speak about these things to a group of mums and nannies who would otherwise not be hearing them.
Once a year we also put on a parenting course, called Wonderfully Made, especially aimed at parents of newborns. This is another great chance for mums to make friends and talk about issues of faith and parenting. Last time we ran this course the entire group went on to do Christianity Explored, and some then began coming to our women’s Bible study group!
Bumps and Babies runs on Tuesday afternoons for pregnant mums or mums with small babies. This is a great way to connect with new or expectant mums who are often lacking a support network. It has led to some great friendships and we are praying for great fruit through this group.
Noah’s Ark Dads takes place on Saturday mornings once a month. This gives our husbands a chance to get involved and befriend some of the husbands whose wives come along in the week, as well as, most crucially, giving all of us mums a Saturday morning off! On the Friday evening before a group of dads also meet at the pub for a beer (without the kids!). The work with dads is much slower but we’re playing the long game and it’s been great to get to know whole families.
As a result of the young families’ ministry at St Peter’s, we have seen a number of families start coming to church on Sunday mornings. We now regularly get 15 children in our twos–threes group, with over half of them from new families over the last two years. That is amazing! Obviously not only are the kids in Sunday school, but their parents are in church listening as the Bible is opened up to them week by week.
That is a very quick run-through of what we are doing. So how can you pray?
- Please pray for energy for the whole team of mums. Most of us have two if not three pre-school children, which is exhausting in and of itself. Pray for our friendships, as sometimes the business and logistics of running playgroup can be all-consuming! And pray for us to remember who we serve – that everything we do is primarily for the Lord Jesus. It is for his glory rather than our own.
- Please particularly pray for the ministry among the dads. It would be great to see more of the husbands, like their wives, doing Christianity Explored or reading the Bible one-to-one with someone. This can only happen by a miracle! But God is powerful!