Children and Family Ministries Enabler Julie McKinnon launched E-QUIP a few months ago. E-QUIP is an online-based training discussion group for people serving in Children and Family Ministries. Participants work through a book, then meet regularly via Zoom to discuss each chapter, set goals, share ideas, and encourage one another.
Rongopai editor Sophia Sinclair caught up with three participants to hear more about E-QUIP works and what they’ve found helpful.
Viki Johnson is employed full-time as a Children’s Pastor at Raleigh Street Christian Centre in Cambridge, Waikato.
“I signed on for E-quip because I had seen Julie’s wisdom and passion for children and family ministries in action. Like lots of people I’m crazy busy, but I want to read more good books and grow in my role. Intentionally reading a book with others—and being held accountable as we discuss the ideas together—seemed like a good way to grow together with others serving in children and families ministry.
“Together we read the book It Takes a Church to Raise a Parent by Rachel Turner. I’d recommend this book for any church looking to support faith at home and explore how this is the responsibility of the whole church body—not just the children’s ministry team.
“Being part of E-quip has made a difference to what I’m doing here at RSCC. Recently, I was approached by some parents of intermediate/middle school aged kids asking for input on sexuality and identity, specifically a biblical perspective. Instead of running separate events for parents and middle schoolers I arranged an event for them to come to together. We discussed God’s view, what it means to have identity in Christ, and how to approach these conversations in the home.”
Steven Polglase is the Children’s Pastor at Hope Community Church in Nelson.
“It was so beneficial to read the book with others in similar situations from around New Zealand. In ministry it can be easy to feel alone, to get caught up in the day-to-day frustrations or challenges. It was a breath of fresh air to rub shoulders with others in the same kind of roles! We shared advice, ideas, frustrations and gave encouragement to each other.
“One big takeaway from E-QUIP was the reminder to be available to connect with families, to not be so busy running programs that we don’t have time to build relationship and have conversations with parents. The benefit of communicating frequently with parents really stuck out to me. Long term, it’s good to give parents a voice and the opportunity to have input into this ministry—doing this is one small step that encourages parents to play a crucial role in the faith formation of their children.”
Kylie Brown is the Children’s Pastor at Lifezone Church in Tauranga.
“For a while I’d been thinking about how we could encourage parents to get more involved in the faith of their children. During lockdown I was preparing material for parents to use at home and it really struck me—there was a whole bunch of parents who had no idea where to start when it came to discipling their kids. Maybe they’d only recently become Christians themselves, or hadn’t been raised in a Christian home, and some parents didn’t have access to email or a printer.
“One of the most helpful parts of E-QUIP was the accountability. Julie was great at prompting us to set goals and work towards implementing them, and it was great doing this along with other people serving in Children and Families Ministry from around New Zealand.
“If you’re thinking about doing E-QUIP, go for it! It was so encouraging to hear how others are implementing ideas, to share tips and resources. The best part of E-QUIP was the depth of discussion and connecting with other leaders.”
For more information on E-QUIP and to book in your place for the next round, contact Julie McKinnon: firstname.lastname@example.org