By Julie McKinnon, CCCNZ Children and Family Ministries Enabler
I recently caught up with Joy Wallace from Manawarū Bible Chapel and heard about the ministry of Launchpad that she and her husband Dennis have been involved in for over 40 years.
Involvement in the local school has always been part of the strategy of Manawarū Bible Chapel.
“This is what we do as a church, it’s always been part of the fabric of the church to be involved in the school. We feel very supported by the church. School is a big part of the community and there are big needs in schools. Churches can have a huge impact on a school community”.
Schools are in need of good role models and often welcome the involvement of the local church. The local principal tells Joy, "you can’t have too many good people in a school".
It doesn’t have to be in the form of a programme like Launchpad. Joy has recently begun going into the school for 30 - 60 minutes a week to listen to the children read. There is a real need in schools for chaplains and mentors and Denis is also a school chaplain through Lifewalk.
In the past, the church has helped with projects such as planting in the school gully. “It opens doors and starts conversations”.
Launchpad’s curriculum lines up with the school’s values. Joy and Denis have worked hard to establish a personal connection and relationship with the principal, “She can see we are interested in the kids and their wellbeing”.
Some people are frustrated by Launchpad in that it doesn’t allow presenters to evangelise, but Joy sees it as a relational ministry where she can be part of the children’s journey of faith:
“It’s a seed-sowing ministry—we don’t always see the fruit. But it is enough to know we are part of their journey... I love the kids. I remind myself that this is the only time some of them ever hear about Jesus.
“The main thing for me is that they leave my class knowing that there is a God and God loves them and that they leave my class thinking that was fun. I want them to have a positive attitude towards God”.
If you are interested in knowing more about the ministry of Launchpad, check out their website