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'Fun in the Sun' discipling young leaders

'Fun in the Sun' discipling young leaders

'Fun in the Sun' discipling young leaders

28 January 2021

The ‘Fun in the Sun’ school holiday program in Tenterfield in 2020 was the start of a growing relationship between the small north NSW corps and its western Sydney counterpart.

By Lauren Martin with Carissa Ainsworth

Tenterfield Corps Officer Captain Rachael Farthing shows off her bracelet craft that she made at the ‘Fun in the Sun’ school holiday program in 2020.

As children and teenagers across Australia prepare to go back to school and Salvos kick off their regular children and youth ministries for 2021, there is one event that is firmly locked into the calendar for two NSW corps.

The ‘Fun in the Sun’ school holiday program in the north-west NSW town of Tenterfield kicked off last year in September when newly installed officers Captains Philip and Rachael Farthing invited a team from Greater West Salvos in western Sydney to run the program to connect with families in the local community and build relationships.

The team was led by Greater West Salvos Ministry Coordinator Carissa Ainsworth who said they were “a group of young people who have a passion for kids ministry and were keen to develop their skills and be on the frontline”.

The program included a ‘word of the day, a creative presentation of a Bible story, elective activities, games and much more. The children heard the story of Zacchaeus, Peter, Daniel, the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son.

Twenty-four kids attended the program throughout the week, and Philip and Rachael had lots of conversations with families as a result.

“The ‘Fun in the Sun’ holiday program allowed us to get our foot in the door, to connect with community people and let them know that we’re here,” said Philip. “It was also a great gift to the kids who came. They had an amazing week of activities and got to hear what Jesus could mean to their lives. Already kids are asking about the next one.” 

Greater West Salvos Ministry Coordinator Carissa Ainsworth (in a green hoodie) with her ‘Fun in the Sun’ leadership team and Tenterfield Corps Officer Captain Philip Farthing (in the Salvos T-shirt).

The benefits of the program ran both ways. The team from Greater West Salvos had a great week in Tenterfield visiting the local sites and exploring. “They also spent a lot of time preparing, debriefing, training and supporting each other and praying together throughout the week,” said Carissa, who believes the experience was a powerful discipling experience. “We plan to do the same mission trip again in 2021, but taking a different group of young people as leaders.”

“Look out world!” she said. “These up-and-coming kids ministry workers are keen to get out there and share the Gospel with kids everywhere!”

And she encouraged other corps with thriving children and youth ministries to bless smaller country corps in the same way: “Get your COVID-safe and travel plans in place, and you too can continue to share the Gospel in these crazy days in ways similar to this!”

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