By Topher Hallyburton, BCA Field Staff, Darwin/Palmerston NT
Schools ministry, Scripture, RE or RI – I don’t know what comes to mind when you think about Religious Education. Was it the first time you heard about Jesus?
Maybe you’re worried about the future of it. Maybe you fondly remember how you were part of a team that worked for years at your local public school. Maybe you give thanks for the volunteers that teach your own kids.
After 10 months as Bush Church Aid Field Staff working in schools in Darwin and Palmerston, let me share with you three things that come to mind.
Firstly, if it wasn’t for Bush Church Aid, there would be no full-time schools ministry worker in Darwin, or the whole NT! It’s a privilege to be here but also a great responsibility. There are around 13,000 primary school aged children in the Greater Darwin area. ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few’ rings a bell. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that He will raise up new workers.
Secondly, volunteers want to be trained! In my short experience, volunteers from all kinds of churches have shown interest and participated in a variety of training sessions I have organised. It has been great to see RE teachers trying new things, talking to each other and sharing experiences.
As a result Ashley Patterson, who is recently retired, took his first ever RE lesson in September. Our God answers prayer!
Finally, of course, RE would not exist if it were not for the students. To see kids listen to God’s word, sing God’s praises and memorise verses is to see God active in our world today. I teach in two schools on a weekly basis. I may never see these children make a decision for Jesus, but I know that as they hear God’s word, it will not return empty, but will accomplish what He desires. So, I teach. I plant the seed, water seeds planted by others and wait on God who makes things grow.