By Mary Lewis – BCA Field Staff, Roxby Downs SA
“Keren!!” two young girls chorus as they hurl themselves across the room into Keren’s arms. “Can we sit with you-ouou!!”
Keren smiles broadly, puts the girls back onto the ground, and taking them by the hand leads them off to help her settle in for the morning.
It’s Keren Luke – Children’s and Family Worker at Roxby Downs Christian Community Church (RDCCC). We’re in the church building on any Sunday morning.
When I first met Keren she was still at school, worshipping regularly and helping in children’s ministry. She had one special friend to pray with at school. Keren finished Year 12 in 2012 with particular merit in art and found work at Mitre10, being unsure of her next steps.
The church was aware that the schoolwork-study transition time can be crucial in someone’s faith development, especially without a like minded support group so we offered Keren a Ministry Traineeship (like an in-house apprenticeship) in children’s ministry for 2013 to “keep her in the faith”. We supported Keren with a small living allowance, put in place some training parameters and job specification, sought out external training and ministry experiences and Keren took up this position developing and coordinating after school and Sunday morning learning and activity programmes for children. The fruitfulness of this led us to appoint Keren for two days per week as our Children’s and Family Worker. She is an active contributing member of our Church Leadership Team.
We based her training on “Passing the Baton” by Col Marshall, with set reading, Bible Study and reflection assignments and regular meetings with me. In 2014 and 2015 Keren is studying the Ridley Certificate on line, attends Invigor8 training days (run by the Lutheran and Uniting Churches) and has a great training partnership with Steve Stokes in OAC South Australia. Through Steve, Keren has had experience on Beach Mission, Christian camps and holiday programmes where the team study the Bible together as well as being equipped to teach and lead children.
Speaking of her ministry, Keren says, “I love working with children in a Christian atmosphere, and am so grateful to God for giving me the passion, opportunities and potential I need.”
At RDCCC we are delighted to be part of the team training and giving Keren opportunities to serve God and while doing so, providing a nurturing faith environment for our children. We wonder what God has in mind next!