In 1946, the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) launched a new book called Feed my Lambs. It was a simple grouping of Bible lessons for children. The aim was to help churches in Britain rebuild their children’s work after the Second World War. This initiative grew into Go Teach Publications.
In 2021, as our society and our churches aim to rebuild from the devastation of Covid-19, our aim is just the same. Many things have changed over the years, such as our name and the way we are governed, but we want to help you teach God’s Word to the next generation. Along with a youth organisation from the Grace Baptists, the EMW is now one of our sponsoring bodies. This means that some of the Directors who lead Go Teach are nominated from within the EMW. If you have ever been to the Aber conference, you would have found us in the exhibition hall year after year.
Ready for today
This year, we are thankful to God for being able to serve his church these past 75 years. These are really difficult times but by God’s grace we are still here. We have faced growing competition and the closure of churches during lockdown has brought a decrease in orders, but we are still able to raise an ‘Ebenezer’ and say ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us’ (1 Sam 7:12). Many of God’s people have helped us to fund our next publications, a holiday Bible club on Jonah, and a new book in our regular syllabus.
We are based in the unique Paradise Mill, Macclesfield, which houses an entire top floor of historic looms and weaving machines. You would never use those old machines to make clothes in 2021, but we still all need clothes! In the same way, you would never use Feed my Lambs now, but children and teens still need to hear the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you remember Go Teach from your own childhood. I can promise you that, where it matters, we have changed a great deal! Our four-year syllabus is quite unique, offering teaching across the same Bible passages for four age groups between 3 and 14, with workbooks for each child, full colour visual aids, and of course, our teachers’ books, which help busy people to keep teaching the Bible to children. We know that you might not have hours and hours to prepare, so we provide a short devotional-style preparation page, with notes on the text and suggested resources, followed by a step-by-step lesson guide, which you can simply stand up and teach from.
There’s more, of course, with plenty of downloadable content available with any visual aid purchase: memory verse sheets and cards, PowerPoint presentations of the visual aids, and templates for activities.
Getting going again
As you consider how to restart children’s work in 2021, we are here to help you, so please do get in touch, either via our social media channels, website, email, post or telephone. We want to be positive and we want to encourage everyone to look beyond lockdown, so here are ten thoughts, or suggestions, regarding the future of youth work in these times.
- Make sure that you know the rules and regulations for your area. Know what you can and cannot do. It is important not to be intimidated by restrictions, but to work with them.
- Think about the best way of reaching children. Is it really during the morning meeting on a Sunday when everyone is busy? Perhaps provision for churchgoing children could be a separate thing. It is often the case that a midweek or Sunday afternoon ‘club’ is more effective.
- Be realistic about scale. If you can gather a regular but small group and get to know them, give them your best effort. As numbers may be limited it is more important than ever to think about quality over quantity.
- Make use of an organised syllabus and worksheets if you can. Then, if meetings have to be suspended, you could continue your interaction by posting out the sheets. If you keep the momentum going, it will be easier to pick up again.
- As better weather returns, think about what you could do outdoors, with less restrictions.
- As children’s understanding or experience of struggle and need may have heightened in these times, consider whether you could involve children in some scheme of helping others, such as collecting food for a foodbank. Consider whether there are children you have contact with who themselves have needs which perhaps the church could supply.
- Think beyond the children you may reach. Where are their families? It may be, in these days when parents are very protective, that there is more potential in running activities which involve both parent and child.
- Don’t discount the idea of a Holiday Bible Club or similar special event. It could be that a well-run club this coming Easter or Summer time might be welcomed by many bored children, not to mention their parents.
- Craft clubs aimed at children are increasingly popular and make space management easier. There are dozens of biblical themes and texts you can cover in this way.
- Finally, whatever you do, please don’t just do nothing. Don’t give in to the defeatist voices that say, ‘We don’t know what will happen, let’s just wait for everything to get back to normal and then do something.’ What is normal anyway? Make a plan and pray about it as a church. The Lord is in control, and you can trust him. In the worst case scenario, you may just have to postpone or cancel. Even that could be an opportunity in itself.
We pray that the Lord will bless the churches across our land in 2021. Nothing is too hard for our God, and he will be faithful forever!