Church Army - Inspire January 09
Ministry to children and teenagers is often about developing trust, friendships and relationships, says Church Army
Ask Graham Nunn what he thinks his gift is and he’ll tell you it’s working with children and young people. Ever since he was commissioned as a Church Army Evangelist nearly 17 years ago, he has been making a difference in the lives of children and young people using puppets, magic, music and Bible studies with schools and youth groups.
“I want to show children and young people that the Gospel is vibrant, it’s alive and Christianity is not boring,” Graham says. “Jesus loves us all whoever we are, he loves young children especially.
“Every single one is specially loved by God for who they are. We’re all different and I want to show that love in everything I do. I want to show them the love of God – and that they might see something different.”
And he is making a difference. In the last year alone, he has been to more than 40 schools engaging with some 100 to 450 children, helping to improve their role as citizens of their community. This is in addition to the Bible Explorer classes he runs in schools, which help them to fulfil their National Curriculum responsibilities through one-hour lessons on the Old Testament.
Using songs, stories, computer graphics, illusions, video/DVD and interactive tools, Graham puts the Word of God and the story of his people in a format the children can understand. This is working wonders, Graham says. The children are starting to embrace the Gospel and an interest in learning about Jesus is developing.
“The other day in Bible Explorer one girl said to me: ‘I’ve been reading my Bible. I’ve been reading about Abraham’,” Graham explains, “And I just thought – wow! Someone at that school, one of those children, actually picked up their Bible and started to read it because of our work. That’s a great encouragement.”
For Graham, the buck doesn’t stop there. Ministry to young people is not just about preaching or teaching, it is about developing trust, friendships and relationships. This is challenging work especially with the state of youth culture in the UK today, but Graham is not discouraged. He has hope for the future of young people. He wants to build tomorrow’s Church and help to equip these young people with the life skills to help make tomorrow’s leaders.
Graham’s summer holiday events for young people are regularly attended by those he works with. In addition, the youth group he runs regularly has resulted in some big changes. Many are now living out the Gospel in their everyday lives.
The most rewarding aspect of the job, he says, is “seeing young people grow into leaders. I took two 15-year-olds to camp last year and their lives were changed immensely. When they returned, they stood in front of the church and said that they didn’t just want to be a Christian when they went to camp, they wanted to be a Christian every day. That makes a difference.”
Alex Clark who was mentored by Graham growing up, added: “When someone is involved in your life on a regular basis for 12 years, it’s hard for them not to influence you in one way or another. Graham has been one of the most important role models for me throughout my life and has been like an extra father figure for me for two thirds of my life.
“What I have most to thank Graham for is showing me God. He truly cares for his young people, each and every one of them. Even through the distractions of the youth of today. To keep so many people’s eyes fixed so firmly upon the cross is a tribute to Graham’s work. It’s thanks to people like Graham that our Church has a tomorrow.”
HOW TO BOOK GRAHAM
Graham is also now part of the Barnabas freelance children's team delivering RE Days in primary schools in Kent. These offer a full day's programme to schools to explore Christianity creatively with primary-aged children through storytelling, drama, dance or music. To book an RE Day with Graham contact Lynda Ward on 01865 319704 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org There’s more info at www.barnabasinschools.org.uk
How can I help?
Pray for safety for Graham, Chrissie and the team as they travel across Kent visiting schools and churches, and that their work will continue to transform lives.