Halloween – Finding Light in the Darkness

Halloween is a big deal in my community. Each year, we have a huge Halloween community event, with a parade, performances, rides and food. It’s easily the biggest event…

Halloween is a big deal in my community. Each year, we have a huge Halloween community event, with a parade, performances, rides and food. It’s easily the biggest event in our local calendar. But this hasn’t always been the case. The enthusiasm for Halloween seems to have grown quite dramatically over the last few decades in our area.

I remember when I was in Year 7 (almost 40 years ago now), I went trick or treating up and down the street with my friend and most people weren’t prepared for us at all, with many having no idea that it actually was Halloween night. We didn’t fare that well in terms of treats and I don’t think we played any tricks. We didn’t bother heading out the following year…

Halloween’s origins are believed to go all the way back to a Celtic festival that celebrated both the harvest and the change of season towards the colder, darker half of the year. It was believed that during this night, the boundary between the physical and spiritual worlds would blur, resulting in heightened interactions between the living and the dead.

The festival morphed over time, influenced particularly by the Roman Empire and the Christian Church in the early centuries of the Common Era, but it’s clear that certain elements from these early expressions have stayed with us up until this day, for example, people might not wear disguises today to evade the dead’s trickery, but they still enjoy a good, spooky dress-up.

It’s been a long time since Halloween has been taken seriously as a genuine commemoration of the blurring lines between the physical and spiritual worlds.

For well over a century now, it’s been considered more of a community holiday where people get together for a party, to eat too much junk food and to freak each other out with spooky costumes, rubber masks and scary costumes. It’s supposed to be fun. I guess that’s why it’s grown in popularity over the past decades.

However, I do know people who aren’t sure about Halloween and whether it’s right to participate in a festival with seemingly such dark and unwholesome themes.

I have some sympathy for that view. I don’t love Halloween for some of those same reasons and I don’t usually go out of my way to get involved. But despite myself, I can’t help thinking that Halloween provides an opportunity to look not just at the darkness, but to look through it and see the light on the other side.

There’s a great verse in the Bible that says, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.” (John 1:15 GNT)

It makes we wonder if I’ve failed to see the light that sits beyond the apparent darkness of my local Halloween celebration. Sure, there’s darkness on the surface. There’s lots of skeletons, zombies and scream masks, and people are certainly enjoying the shock factor in all that. But at the heart of it, people are getting together to have fun with their neighbours and friends. Surely there’s light in all that, brighter than the apparent darkness…?

So, maybe this Halloween, I won’t avoid the big community event like I usually do, even though it’s not my thing and aspects of it don’t sit completely right with me. Maybe I’ll join in and look for the light that is there under the surface. Maybe I’ll even try to be part of the light of the occasion.

I might even dress up.

Perhaps I’ll go as an angel.

Just to be sure…

 

About the author…

Steve has over 30 years experience in school, community and church-based youth work. He is currently working as the Training & Development Manager at SU QLD, overseeing teams that deliver training and produce resources for SU QLD staff and volunteers. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Social Work, Politics & Government, and Christian Studies.

Posted: 30/10/2020

4 keys for planning your church events during COVID

Spring holidays have always been a busy time for our SU QLD Camps team. Historically, it’s included over 30 events, involving over 2500 participants, volunteers and staff. Our volunteer Event…

Spring holidays have always been a busy time for our SU QLD Camps team. Historically, it’s included over 30 events, involving over 2500 participants, volunteers and staff. Our volunteer Event Directors start planning in April, or earlier, to design programs, form leadership teams and develop spiritual input activities.

So in July this year, when we sat down with directors to present them, at short notice, with our Spring Camps COVID Safe Plan, it came as no surprise that there was a lot of concern and a lot of questions: “Isn’t that going to be a lot of extra work?”, “Will we actually be able to run?”, and “Will kids even come?”

Now that we are on the other side of this year’s Spring camps season, I am pleased and grateful to say, yes, yes and yes to those questions.

We are so thankful for all that everyone did to help make our 24 Spring events happen, involving 1447 people. We’re especially grateful to our Event Directors who, in many cases, went above and beyond what would normally be expected of them.

The comment that I have heard a number of times and keeps coming to me is, “Once all the set up work was done, it was remarkable how normal it felt to run the event.”

Over the course of the last 6 months, words like “pivot”, “unprecedented” and “ever-changing” have become part of our everyday vocabulary. We celebrated when we heard over and over again that our camps felt like the normal special experience they always have been.

So as we enter the fourth quarter of this very strange year, planning for end of year events and events for early 2021, you might have some of the same concerns. You might be asking some of the same questions our Event Directors were asking 3 months ago.

Well, here are a few tips that helped them and just might help your church or youth group’s event planning:

1. Read the Industry Plans or requirements for what you need to do and write up a clear COVID Safe Plan on how they will apply to your context. So many times, when questions came up about what we should be doing, it was great to be able to simply come back to this reference point.

2. If you are the person running the event, find someone else to manage the implementation of your COVID Safe Plan. Your focus should be on the success of your event, not on ensuring everyone has been sanitised at the right times, in the right places.

3. Focus on all the things you can do and don’t fixate on what can’t happen. The experience of everyone getting together will be more important than the feeling of it looking and feeling a bit different.

4. Find someone to be in your corner to answer your questions and be a sounding board. One of my great joys of the last two months has been all the times I was thanked for just being available to help others think through the process and come up with workable solutions.

Whether you are running completely different events or just adjusting existing ones to meet the new requirements, just remember this.

While it may seem like a lot of work now, know that each step in the process is going to be worth it, and people will celebrate getting together at your event.

 

About the author…

Beavs is a former High School Maths and Christian Education Teacher who has been working and volunteering with SU QLD Camps for almost 20 years. As Camps Specialist he supports volunteers and chaplains run camps and community outreach events throughout Queensland, reaching over 4500 young people. Beavs is married with 3 children, and loves coffee and watching sport.

Posted: 15/10/2020

Spiritual, but not Religious…?

You might know someone who says, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” I’ve heard it plenty of times and it’s fair enough. Some people have had a bad experience of…

You might know someone who says, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.”

I’ve heard it plenty of times and it’s fair enough. Some people have had a bad experience of religion, but still want to hold onto the spirit they hope is sitting somewhere behind it.

But this saying can be a real challenge for those of us who actually are “religious”.

That’s me and it might be you too…

You see, if you identify as a Christian, then almost by definition, you’re religious. If you go to a church, then yep, you’re probably religious too. And if you support SU in some way, then there’s a pretty good chance that you’re religious. We seem to attract religious types. If you work for us or volunteer with us in some way, then we pretty much require you to be religious. You need to belong to a church, to have a pastor who can vouch for you and to be able to sign off on one of the classic Christian creeds. Religious…

So, I’m sorry to say, if you’re reading this blog post, there’s a good chance that you don’t have the luxury of being able to say, hand on your heart, “I’m spiritual, but not religious”… as nice and neat as that might be. People like us have to come up with another saying that more accurately describes our position. Maybe something like, “I’m spiritual and trying to live out some good religion.”

I know that’s a bit clunky and needs some work, but I think it’s on the right track…

There just must be something that we can point to as “good religion”. Something that goes hand-in-hand with, and points directly to, “good spirituality”. And, there must be someone out there who could show us a glimpse of what this might look like.

Well…

On Sunday, earlier this week (4th October), many Christians celebrated “The Feast of St Francis of Assisi”. You may have heard of St Francis. He is possibly the world’s most well-known and popular saint and he is definitely someone who knew about living a good religious life that pointed to a spirituality worth looking into.

St Francis lived in Italy across the 12th & 13th centuries. He is mostly remembered for his generosity to the poor, his love for animals and his close connection to nature. Born into wealth, St Francis walked away from a life of wealth and comfort, to not only live with and serve the poor, but to become poor himself. It is said that he preached to the birds and referred to the sun and moon as his brother and sister. St Francis founded three religious orders that continue to promote reflection, humility, simplicity, generosity, sustainability and reconciliation through their ministries today. He is the patron saint of both animals and the environment and was honoured in 2013 when Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina took his name as his own (anyone heard of Pope Francis?)…

That all sounds pretty religious. But “good” religious…

It seems to me that St Francis was not only just the right shade of crazy, but someone who knew how to practice his religion in such a way as to point people towards a positive and life-giving spirituality. Interestingly, one of the things he did and encouraged his followers to do, was to imitate Jesus Christ as closely, seriously and radically as they possibly could. He chose an excellent role model on which to base his spiritual and religious life.

St Francis is a saint for today. He’s the kind of saint that us religious types should take notice of. You should google him and find out more of what he was about. He was the kind of guy who would say, “I’m spiritual and religious”, and you’d think that was a good thing.

 

About the author…

Steve has over 30 years experience in school, community and church-based youth work. He is currently working as the Training & Development Manager at SU QLD, overseeing teams that deliver training and produce resources for SU QLD staff and volunteers. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Social Work, Politics & Government, and Christian Studies.

Posted: 9/10/2020

10 tips to build a better church website

For more than two millennia churches reached out to those in need by getting outside the walls of their buildings. In today’s digital age, churches have the opportunity to…

For more than two millennia churches reached out to those in need by getting outside the walls of their buildings. In today’s digital age, churches have the opportunity to reach even more people in need through their online presence – and it starts with your website. With churches moving services online or to a hybrid online/in person model, the need to have a strong digital presence has become more critical than ever.

At SU QLD, our heart is to serve and partner with churches in their mission to their local community. Our friends at R6 Digital, Brisbane’s second largest digital marketing agency, share our heart. It’s why we reached out to Jake Hart, R6 Chief of Design, who shares his top 10 tips for creating your church’s website. 

TIP 1: Establish your look and feel

Before you create/remodel your website you’ll want to establish its look and feel. This means, if you don’t already have a brand guide, you should develop one. This will determine what fonts, colours and high-resolution images you will use for your website. The more work you put into defining your look and feel, the easier it will be to design your site, which will ultimately lead to a better outcome.

TIP 2: Understand your audience

Now you’ve got your look and feel, the next step is knowing who your website is for. Are they first time visitors? Are they people transitioning from one church to another? There’s also your existing members to consider too. By understanding who your potential audience is, you can better plan the content of your site.

 

Keep it simple and easy to digest – Tip 5

 

TIP 3: Ease of navigation is key

This is critical to the effectiveness of your website. While you may want to shout from the rooftops about everything your church is doing and what you have to offer, you don’t want to bamboozle your visitor with too much, too soon. In other words, less is more. Focus on simplicity and user friendliness, which leads in nicely to my next tip…

TIP 4: Give your visitor an experience they’ll come back for

An effective church website, or any website for that matter, is one that focuses on creating an enjoyable, responsive experience for the user, regardless of the platform they use. In other words, your site needs to be flexible enough that it looks and functions equally as well when viewed on a mobile device or on a desktop PC.  

TIP 5: Communicate smartly

Here’s your opportunity to let your potential visitor know who you are and why they would want to join your community. Again, keep it simple and easy to digest. You will want to include: who you are (Our History and Our Team); what you believe (Vision Statement, Ministries and Outreach of the church), and why you do this.

This gives the user a simple, engaging introduction to your church, with enough information for them to get a feel for who you are, how you will support their faith journey, and/or whether they will feel welcomed. 

TIP 6: Don’t use stock images, be authentic

Stock photos might look great, but they’re not you. Your website visitors want to see who you really are. Think of your website like the foyer of your church. What will people see, feel and hear? Show them what they can expect inside.

TIP 7: Show your community involvement

Be sure to include your community outreach programs on your site to inspire visitors to give them a sense of community and purpose.

TIP 8: Use external giving platforms

Ohhhh it’s the uncomfortable bit… we’re talking about money. The reality is the amazing things your church is doing is only possible because of two reasons: God and the faithful giving of your community. It’s why I recommend using external giving platforms like Tithe.ly, EasyTithe, Givelify, PayPal or PushPay. Avoid integrated payment options because it will deter people from making larger investments as these options are potentially less secure.

Inspire the people that visit your website – Tip 7

 

TIP 9: Link your site with your social media

Think of your social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) as a way to funnel people to your website. Post engaging, quality content that is consistent with who you are as a church community (remember Tips 5 and 6) and encourage people to find out more by clicking a link to your website.

TIP 10: Choose the right web CMS for you

While you might be blown away by the bells and whistles that various Content Management Systems (CMS) promise, be sure to pick one that is easy to edit, update and use. You don’t want a system that only the “I.T guy” can make even the most minor changes to.

We hope you find Jake’s tips helpful. If you’d like to find out more about setting up your church’s website, or if you think yours’ could do with a minor tune up, the team at R6 Digital would only be too happy to serve you. Contact them here to start the conversation today!

 

Posted: 6/10/2020

How to build a life giving home

Almost 40 years ago, American author and businessman Alvin Toffler described the view from his kitchen window in this way, “All the old roots – religion, nation, community, family…

Almost 40 years ago, American author and businessman Alvin Toffler described the view from his kitchen window in this way,

“All the old roots – religion, nation, community, family and profession – are now shaking under the hurricane impact of today’s accelerative thrust. In the midst of all this change sits the family – stunned by the shockwaves of novelty, shifting values, and information overload, wondering how they are going to survive. The family has been called the ‘giant shock absorber’ of society. Home is ‘the place to which the bruised and battered individual returns after doing battle with the world, the one stable point in an increasingly flux-filled environment’.”

This is my picture of what family should be – what God intended for families to be.

In a world that is changing at a frenetic pace, where values are being diluted and eroded on a daily basis, all young people need a place of safety and security in which they are enveloped as they make sense of life.

When Marg and I welcomed our firstborn into the world, we talked together about what kind of home we wanted for our children. We had the opportunity to build a home that was shaped by our values and not a house that was shaped by our budget. We wanted a home that would be a safe place where all voices were validated, where anything and everything could be talked about. We wanted a home where we could laugh and cry together, and where our children felt secure in the knowledge that they were a part of a family that would always be there for them.

As followers of Jesus, our greatest hope and desire was that, in this journey, they too would grow a faith that was active and lifelong.

Put simply, our vision was for a life-giving home.

These were easy words to say those many years ago! We certainly didn’t achieve all we strived for, but we are thankful to God that our three children are living out an active faith today. When children are brought into this world through something called labour, this provides a clue of the commitment required of us as parents as we take on the responsibility given to us.

In the fast-paced world of today, when so much of our thinking is shaped by scanning and swiping and reading just 147 characters, I wrote a small 32-page book as a manageable read, to unpack this vision further.

Listen to the chorus of voices in these pages that amplify the urgency to return to the central place where life is formed, celebrated, experienced and matured.

What is proposed is a counter-cultural paradigm shift away from quick-fix solutions and program-centred strategies towards a return to the ancient, God-given priority for growing lifelong, active followers of Jesus.

Read on to find life for both yourself and your home.

Click here to access the 32-page book: Life-Giving Homes TW

 

About the author…

Terry is married to Marg and they have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. His developing gifts are in UNO, LEGO, Monopoly, racing cars, fairies, dinosaurs and Zooper Doopers. Terry is also a specialist in ministry with families and children at Scripture Union Queensland, where he has worked for 36 years.

Posted: 1/10/2020

Mentoring Matters: 5 keys to help your teens thrive

Close your eyes for a minute and think back to your teen and young adult years… Who were the important people in your life at the time? Who were…

Close your eyes for a minute and think back to your teen and young adult years… Who were the important people in your life at the time? Who were the significant adults in your life?

I was blessed with an abundance of aunts, uncles and family friends who all played important roles in my youth. I have great parents too (*applauds my mum and dad*), but there is a special place in my heart for those grown-ups who didn’t have to invest in my life but chose to anyway.

Research tells us that high-quality relationships are crucial to the development of young teens and young adults. However, 40% of young people report feeling lonely (Search Inst. 2017) and possess one or less relationships they would deem significant (Search Inst. 2017). In a hyper-networked world, teens and young adults lack real relationships, and are at a high risk of not having a significant adult in their life to guide them through the unstable landscape of young adulthood.

In short, teens and young adults need mentors.

When I think about mentoring young people, I am reminded of this little gem from the Bible;

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says; “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Young people in our communities need invested adults to walk beside and guide them through the sitting, walking, laying and rising of life. Mentors for the mundane and monumental.

How does mentoring benefit teens and young adults?

The Search Institute uses the term ‘developmental relationship’ to describe the nature of healthy connection between significant adults (mentors, parents, coaches, teachers, etc.) and young people.

In layman’s terms, a Developmental Relationship is a close connection between a young person and an adult that positively influences the young person to help them thrive.

Through their research they identified three key benefits of these relationships;

  • Help discover identity
  • Help develop capability
  • Help discern purpose.

If you think about the important people in your life during your adolescent years, can you recall how they helped you discover your identity, develop your capabilities, and discern a sense of purpose?

How can I help the teens and young adults in my life?

The Search Institute’s research found five essential components of developmental relationships that benefitted young people the most.

Express Care. Young people don’t just need to be told they matter; they need to be shown. Think of how you can practically demonstrate to a young person that they are valued.

Challenge Growth. Young people need to be encouraged and pushed to keep getting better. Consider how can you encourage a young person to give their best and keep them accountable.

Provide Support. In order to grow, sometimes we need a little help. How could you assist a young person to complete their tasks and achieve their goals (without taking over)?

Share Power. We all want to feel empowered to make decisions and take action in our lives. How could you treat a young person with respect and give them a say in what is happening around and to them?

Expand Possibilities. I don’t know what I don’t know. Can you connect a young person with people, places and experiences that broadens their horizons?

Consider how the significant figures of your teens and young adulthood demonstrated these key elements, and how they impacted your life?

As the African proverb says; it takes a village to raise a child. Mentoring Matters, not just to avoid loneliness, but to assist teens and young adults to thrive on their journey to adulthood.

To read the full Search Institute report click here.

 

About the author…

Tess is a former school chaplain and youth pastor with 15 years of experience in youth work. She now serves as SU QLD’s Children and Youth Program Team Leader, delivering training and professional development to chaplains and youth workers. She holds a bachelor of communications and diploma of youth work.

 

Posted: 24/09/2020

Webinar: How Christian Families Can Navigate The Challenges Of The COVID19 Disruption

The acute crisis of CV19 is passing for the moment and we are in a period of transition which in reality is just the latest in a series of…

The acute crisis of CV19 is passing for the moment and we are in a period of transition which in reality is just the latest in a series of multiple transitions over the last 12 months. Life changed in the space of a few weeks on a global scale. Fear and panic may have temporarily reduced however we have widespread hardship that impacts people, families, the Church, communities and our nation. Each of the areas of Faith, Family and Finances have been profoundly impacted in both negative and positive ways that need to be explored better understood and shared.

This free webinar explores this topic, with a great lineup of international speakers. To register FOR FREE, click here: https://www.thrivecast.com/faith-family-finance/

Posted: 21/09/2020

Covid-19 and mental health

COVID-19 has touched each of us somehow. For many, it’s been a point of realisation that mental health is important and should be prioritised as we go about our…

COVID-19 has touched each of us somehow.

For many, it’s been a point of realisation that mental health is important and should be prioritised as we go about our daily lives.

We loved this article from the World Economic Forum about caring for mental health in the midst of the pandemic.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/covid-19-and-your-brain-6-ways-to-control-the-damage-to-your-mental-health/?fbclid=IwAR1D1_PlrD1d7L2B5wC-tTKdKO1gW5cNG_CJWYz6slnh2h6cghUZo1QZlrU

Posted: 16/09/2020

Schoolies as a ‘Rite of Passage’

In November 2000 I graduated from high school. At my school’s graduation, every year they played the same music. It symbolised the end of your time at school as…

In November 2000 I graduated from high school.

At my school’s graduation, every year they played the same music. It symbolised the end of your time at school as you moved into adult life.

For me, that experience was a big moment I’ll always remember. A point of transition – a rite of passage.

Fast forward 20 years and our 2020 high school graduates are facing a very different rite of passage.

COVID-19 has limited numbers for events and gatherings, and is already influencing end-of-school processions with bans now in place for the traditional mass schoolies events on the Gold Coast.

While some think that Gold Coast schoolies events are a horrible ‘rite of passage’ for our high school graduates, the fact is that schoolies options available to previous cohorts have been taken away from the class of 2020. What will this mean?

Rites of passage have changed through the generations – but all support the same general premise: an event or ceremony to mark an important transition in someone’s life.

For Gen X and Gen Y some rites of passage included owning a first car, leaving home and getting your first job. For Gen Z and Millenials, who are staying home longer and studying/working simultaneously, there are fewer points that we can label as ‘rites of passage’.

This makes the milestone of finishing school an even more important marker for this generation.

If you’re a parent or mentor of someone finishing high school this year, here are some things I think are really important to keep in mind.

1. Talk talk talk!

Talk about the year – and ask them what are some of the symbolic markers they feel they have missed out on because of COVID-19. What are some creative ways they can experience these?

2. Help them to share their feelings

It’s okay to be disappointed – but allowing feelings to stay bottled up can have really negative consequences. Encouraging your teen to share what they are going through is vital to help them have a positive experience as they approach this key transition in life.

3. Celebrate with them!

Celebrate the successes of this year, and of the last few months of their schooling journey. Focus on the ‘lasts’ – celebrate when they finish their final assignment, final exam, etc. Help them plan a safe schoolies celebration with the friends they have valued through their schooling journey.

Regardless of the changes COVID-19 has had on our society, helping our Year 12 students to find positivity in the midst of all the things they have missed out on is key. Let’s give them the joy-filled rite of passage they deserve!

The good news for SU-Schoolies Sunny Coast is we have a COVID Safe Plan for our event, which we’ve developed in conjunction with Alex Park Conference Centre. This will allow us to proceed under the appropriate Industry Action Plan.

While this plan includes a cap on participants and restrictions on some activities, rest assured we are putting together a program that will allow you to still have the time of your life as you celebrate finishing your 12 years of schooling with your peers.

www.su-schoolies.com

 

About the author…

Beavs is a former High School Maths and Christian Education Teacher who has been working and volunteering with SU QLD Camps for almost 20 years. As Camps Specialist he supports volunteers and chaplains run camps and community outreach events throughout Queensland, reaching over 4500 young people. Beavs is married with 3 children, and loves coffee and watching sport.

Posted: 16/09/2020

How can we safely talk to young people about ‘that’ Tik Tok video?

Weeks like this one remind us why awareness campaigns like R U OK Day are important. Again, we have been reminded of the tragedy of suicide and how its…

Weeks like this one remind us why awareness campaigns like R U OK Day are important. Again, we have been reminded of the tragedy of suicide and how its impact reaches far beyond its victims.

The media’s coverage of the viral TikTok video has left many parents concerned about their children’s exposure to traumatic content online.

There are many questions to be answered and a lot of avenues of support. Here are some answers and helpful resources if you are trying to work out how to talk to your child about traumatic online content.

Should I ask my child if they’ve seen the video?

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant advises against drawing young people’s attention to the issue. If your child has not seen the video, raising the topic could cause unnecessary worry, distress or increase their curiosity about the video. Instead, monitor your child’s demeanour and behaviour for any changes, particularly those who may be considered more vulnerable or at risk. If you want to talk about it, raise the conversation generally, asking about both their online or offline activities. Parents should keep an open dialogue with their children about their online activity.

How do I talk to someone about their mental health?

If you are concerned that your child or loved one is thinking about suicide or has been triggered by online content, have a conversation. Most people are scared that they will say the wrong thing and make it worse, so they avoid the conversation. This is not true. Initiating the conversation will allow the person an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings and ask for support. For more specific guidance on how to conduct a conversation about mental health and suicide, follow the links below.

R U OK: How to ask guide

Suicide First Aid Guidelines (MHFA)

ChatSafe: Talking safely about suicide online

Parent TV: How to talk to your child about suicide

How can I comfort my child who is upset by the video?

A young person may be significantly upset by what they have been exposed to online. It is not possible to unsee what we are exposed to. So how can we help alleviate their distress?

1. Express care. Reassure your child they are loved, valued and safe.

2. Normalise feelings. It’s natural to want to get rid of unpleasant feelings. We often say things like; “It’s okay, don’t be sad” or “chin up”. However, our emotions are signals to our minds and bodies that tell us something. It is normal to emotionally respond to inappropriate content online. Having a “yucky” feeling tells us that what we saw was not okay. It’s not about getting rid of the “yuck” feeling but working out what we should do when we experience that feeling.

3. Encourage positive activity. This is a good time to take a break from the online world. Suggest an ‘offline break’ to do something that will make your child feel better, taking a walk, playing with the dog, doing some art or cooking a meal, the options are endless.

4. Invite further conversation. Keep the communication channels open, allowing your child an opportunity to keep talking, if it’s helpful.

5. Keep an eye out. As mentioned above, monitor your child’s ongoing behaviour and demeanour, if you notice a persistent change, follow it up.

How can I protect my child from harmful images, videos and online commentary?

The internet is a big place full of wonderful and horrible things. Trying to eliminate the bad content is like a game of whack-a-mole; just when you hit one on the head three more pop up. Understandably, parents often feel helpless when it comes to managing their children’s activity online. But, there are a number of great organisations that are empowering parents to keep their kids safe online. The eSafety Commission is my first port of call when I want information about internet safety for young people. Parental controls might be an option for your family, restricting certain content and websites while keeping parents up to date on their child’s online activity. The Communications Alliance LTD has a list of reputable products on the market. The Australian Council for Children and Media helps parents determine what will be appropriate content/platforms for their child.

Should I ban my child from social media?

It may be helpful to keep your child away from social media for a time, to allow the platforms opportunity to remove the explicit content, but also to give your child a break to positively work on their mental health. However, for many young people around the world, social media is a vital connection to their network of friends. Perhaps less of an “All or Nothing” approach and more of a healthy balance is needed. The eSafety Commission has loads of excellent information for young people regarding healthy use of social media. As a parent you know your child best and should feel empowered to make decisions for the wellbeing of your child.

What should I teach my children to do about traumatic content online?

We cannot avoid or block every piece of inappropriate content online; our power lies within our response to these images, videos and commentary. Here are some steps to respond to traumatic material.

1. Close the video/image. Just because you started the video doesn’t mean you have to finish it. If your feelings are telling you something is wrong – get out. Don’t share/repost it.

2. Report the content. All social media platforms have a reporting function, use it. The eSafety Commission also has a reporting page where you can make official complaints about online content. You can also call the police on 000.

3. Tell a trusted adult. It’s important your child shares any inappropriate online activity with a trusted adult (parent, school teacher/support worker). This will ensure they receive the support they need, and the problem is dealt with properly. They should know that they won’t get into trouble for telling someone about what they experienced.

4. Unfriend/Block. Children should never connect online with people they don’t know. However, sometimes even known friends can share and upload inappropriate content. It is okay to unfriend or block someone who is willfully sharing harmful material.

If you require extra support, please don’t hesitate to talk to someone about it. R U OK is as much a question for us as it is for our young people.

Call:

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Click here for other support agency details

About the author…

Tess is a former school chaplain and youth pastor with 15 years of experience in youth work. She now serves as SU QLD’s Children and Youth Program Team Leader, delivering training and professional development to chaplains and youth workers. She holds a bachelor of communications and diploma of youth work.

 

Posted: 10/09/2020

What Father’s Day means to me (a dad’s perspective)

I’m the father of two sons – 14 and 11 years old. I love being a father. It’s one of the most important parts of who I am these…

I’m the father of two sons – 14 and 11 years old. I love being a father. It’s one of the most important parts of who I am these days. Of course, I wasn’t always a father. I’ve been one for less than a third of my life.

With Father’s Day coming up, I’ve been reflecting on some of my fathering influences and how they impact my own fathering today. Special days like Father’s Day provide good opportunities for such things.

Firstly, I had a good father, which is a great start. They say that some good traits in life are “caught not taught” and that rings true when I think of what I learned about living well from my dad. It was less about what he tried to teach us and more about how he moved through the world. He was a strong, calm, and warm presence in our home. He gave little unsolicited advice and when he did speak into our lives, we were ready to listen.

He gave us plenty of space to make our own decisions, which included making our own mistakes. I see a lot of him unconsciously expressed through what I do with my kids now.
Alongside my dad, I also had a bunch of other father figures who I “caught” positive traits off.

As good as my own dad was, he couldn’t be everything to me by way of an example of good manhood or good fathering. No-one can be expected to provide that all themselves. The other good blokes in my life included – Sunday School teachers, camp leaders, youth group leaders, teachers, coaches, mentors etc… These father figures all brought something positive into the mix of my life, and I count myself lucky to have had their guidance through my formative times. I recognise some of these influences in my fathering, and I want to give my boys opportunities to have these kinds of positive influences in their lives.

Another thing I’ve tried to do is keep my eyes and ears open to various conversations around what good fathering might look like these days. I like the more traditional idea of being a good provider, but I’ve also appreciated the movement towards being more hands-on around the family home and in the lives of our children. I do the morning shift in our house, making breakfasts and lunches while the boys get ready for their day. Nothing too deep and meaningful – just good, incidental hang-out time. And across the week, we’ll talk, run, check homework, do chores, shoot hoops, watch shows and eat pies (when mum’s not looking). These times are some of the highlights of my week, and I think they’re good for all of us.

The research into good fathering strongly suggests to me that I’ve been on a good wicket when it comes to fathering influences: a good father, good father figures and access to positive fathering information that has shaped what I do (Fathering Project, 2013). Really, with all that going for me, I haven’t got much of an excuse…

My deep hope is that my boys will look back on what they got from myself and others and value it as I value what I have received from my dad, and the other good blokes in my life. I guess the point is to pass it all forward. I hear people say that one of the reasons we’re blessed is to be a blessing to others. With Father’s Day coming up, that makes as much sense to me as it ever has.

 

About the author…

Steve has over 30 years experience in school, community and church-based youth work. He is currently working as the Training & Development Manager at SU QLD, overseeing teams that deliver training and produce resources for SU QLD staff and volunteers. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Social Work, Politics & Government, and Christian Studies.

 

 

 

How Fathers and Father Figures Can Shape Child Health and Wellbeing (2013) – https://thefatheringproject.org/fpwp/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/New-Fathering-Research.pdf

Posted: 3/09/2020

Why Can’t Turtles Sing? Using Questions to Grow Kids

Kids under school age ask as many as 200-300 questions per day*. Young children live a life filled with a level of curiosity that appears to evaporate as they…

Kids under school age ask as many as 200-300 questions per day*. Young children live a life filled with a level of curiosity that appears to evaporate as they mature.

Answering questions is a vital part of parenting.

Asking questions is an equally important element of parenting and a tool that stimulates connection, confidence and critical thinking in our kids – in addition to nurturing curiosity.

Here are a few reasons why I believe questions are such a powerful part of parenting.

 

1. Our questions encourage connection

What do our young people think about current events? What are their hopes, fears and questions? What would they ask God in a face-to-face meeting? Well-formed questions can deepen family connection. At the dinner table, give someone the opportunity to ask a question of everybody else, use purchased conversation cards, or make your own (there are plenty of online resources.) Communicate, “I hear you,” as you attentively listen to each other.

One idea you can do is play ‘Question Ping-Pong’ in the car or on a walk.

The rules are simple – Two people take turns asking each other questions. No butting in, and a valid answer to any question may simply be, “I would like another question please.”

Genuine questions and deep listening connect people.

 

2. Our questions can arouse curiosity

For a time, I had the privilege of regular nursing home visits with some twelve-year-olds. Each week, question cards facilitated conversation and storytelling.

Thelma was an elderly resident who had undergone the amputation of both legs. While initially, the kids were cautious to speak with her, affection towards Thelma quickly developed.

As part of a post-visit conversation a few weeks in, one of the girls stated, “Once you get to know Thelma, you forget what she looks like because she is so lovely.”

My heart soared.

Genuine curiosity followed by engagement had dissolved the fear of difference and enabled beautiful, mutual connection.

Will Wise in the book Ask Powerful Questions claims there is a “national curiosity deficit that fuels division, separation and prevents us from building trusting, healthy connections.”

Can we wonder with our kids about people, their stories and what lies beneath the visible? Can we model and promote openness, humility and genuine curiosity?

 

3. Our questions can inspire confidence

“How did school go today?” was my query one time as I ‘ubered’ my daughter from school to netball. Her response gripped my parent-heart.

“Imogen and Mia wouldn’t let me play with them today. Nobody likes me.”

I want to side with my daughter and tell those so-called friends what I think of them. I wish I could rescue her from the pain of rejection and yet, as I respond, can I consider the long term?

I need to breathe, empathise, and later ask questions that empower rather than reinforce a victim mentality.

Questions that encourage problem solving communicate, “I believe you’ve got this.” What would you like to see happen? How could you approach this? How can I support you with your plan?

And as a check-in after the next day, “How did you go?” rather than a problem-centred, “Did they exclude you again?”

Maybe in the future, that solution-focused thinking will transfer to confidence in facing the challenges of adulthood.

 

4. Our questions can promote critical thinking

“I don’t believe in God,” “I don’t want to go to church,” (or some other statement of objection to a deeply valued belief), can hook our parent-hearts into reacting rather than responding.

Once again, well thought through questions and appropriate timing may just be the parenting tool we need. If we can still our beating hearts long enough to listen without defensiveness to this exploration of personal values, we might ask, “What led you to that conclusion?” “What have you seen, experienced or read that makes you think that?”

Once again, with the long- term view in mind, a parent who can facilitate this questioning with openness, can encourage their young person to deeply consider their own worldview rather than overreact to a reacting parent.

Attentive listening could provide an opening to be heard at some point and an apology for reacting, a reset and another conversation opportunity.

 

So why can’t a turtle sing?

Have you ever considered that maybe they can sing and the real question is “Why can’t we hear them?”

Many of life’s big questions, including those about current world events, will never have easy answers. Maybe together with our kids, we could consider alternate questions.

Intentionally using purposeful questions as a parenting tool could serve to deepen our family connections, in addition to developing the capacity for curiosity, compassion, confidence and critical thinking.

 

About the Author…

Andrea is a former secondary school teacher and counsellor. She has worked as a school chaplain for over 19 years and now also serves part-time on SU QLD’s Children and Youth Program Team, delivering training and professional development to chaplains and youth workers. Andrea and her husband are parents to three adult children and grandparents to two.

 

*Warren Berger, A More Beautiful Question

Posted: 27/08/2020

Lessons from a COVID wedding

In addition to lockdowns, panic buying, border closures and everything else COVID has thrust onto our society, it’s also threatened many of our special occasions we may have once…

In addition to lockdowns, panic buying, border closures and everything else COVID has thrust onto our society, it’s also threatened many of our special occasions we may have once taken for granted.

From mourning the loss of a loved one, to celebrating the big milestones in life – births, birthdays and graduations – COVID has seemingly left no stone unturned. In my case, it was my wedding.

Planning a wedding is never easy. Planning a wedding during COVID is an emotional rollercoaster with no promise of when or how it will end.

With restrictions constantly changing, we were constantly adjusting and sacrificing for what was supposed to be one of the most amazing days of our lives. We reduced our guest list, cancelled our reception and honeymoon, and moved our wedding date forward.

We had everything planned in March for our April wedding. We’d accepted it would be smaller than we’d hope for. With restrictions getting tighter, we cancelled our April wedding and moved the date forward to the closest weekend.

Everything was locked in for the coming Saturday – just four days away. Within a few hours, restrictions for weddings were reduced from 100 people to just five. We were no longer able to even have both sets of parents there. So again, we cancelled.

This was the part of the roller coaster ride where you’re tempted to just get off. I give up COVID – you win.

We had no control over when we could start planning and rescheduling our wedding and when we could finally start our lives together. Instead of getting off the roller coaster, we stayed the course and set a new date for October.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. The news had just broken of a possible outbreak in Queensland. Once again our plans were in jeopardy.

We didn’t want to make the same mistake again and decided to get married in a week’s time. Last Saturday, we got married!! 3rd time lucky!!

Here are 4 things I learned organising a wedding during COVID.

1. Take control in a world of uncertainty
There are so many things we cannot control – even more so during a global pandemic. Instead of waiting, we took control and got married while we still could.

2. Importance of family and friends
It’s incredible to reflect on the amazing family, friends and church community you have in your life. We could not have organised a wedding in one week without everyone banding together. The community of friends and family around you are so important.

3. Celebrate in hard times
In times of struggle and suffering, it’s important to still focus on celebrating the good things in life – like a wedding. The response from our guests and from the public when they saw me wearing my dress was wonderful. “It’s so lovely to see something good happening in this time of suffering” and “Exactly what I wanted to see in such a sad time,” were just a few of the comments we heard.

4. The importance of marriage over wedding
COVID has helped changed my perspective on what’s important to have in your wedding, such as the vows we made to each other before God, and the presence of our close family and friends. We didn’t need the most expensive wedding, the perfect decorations, or the biggest party. We are thankful for the small but important things. We still had our wedding ceremony with 50 people. We had a wedding cake and celebrated at the end of the day with a BBQ in the backyard. To top it all off, we had our first dance underneath our Hills Hoist covered in lights.

We’ve learned so much from organising a COVID wedding, but I guess the most important lesson of all has been to never taking anything – big or small – for granted. And while at times you may feel that the roller coaster ride you’re on is in control of you, remember God can still control your roller coaster. Just trust Him.

 

About the author…

Jane has been involved with SU Camps and Community Outreaches for 15 years. She has experience as working as a chaplain and has a background in nursing. Jane currently works as the Camp Specialist for SU QLD, overseeing the camps and missions across Queensland.

Posted: 20/08/2020

Twenty Ideas to Connect Kids with Nature

We loved this sheet of ideas you can use to engage children and young people with the beauty of nature that is all around them! Some of the ideas…

We loved this sheet of ideas you can use to engage children and young people with the beauty of nature that is all around them!

Some of the ideas include…

  • Follow a trail of ants back to their home
  • Go for a night walk under the stars
  • Warm stones in the oven (carefully!) then draw on them with crayons and find out what happens!

Click here to access the full list: https://www.unitingearth.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Nature-Connection-Resource-FINAL.pdf

Posted: 17/08/2020

Taking a positive approach to parenting (and grandparenting) – by Professor Matt Sanders

There’s one type of family conflict that’s very common, but not often discussed in the media: parents and grandparents disagreeing. Fortunately, the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program® can…

There’s one type of family conflict that’s very common, but not often discussed in the media: parents and grandparents disagreeing. Fortunately, the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program® can offer some new ways to handle the problem. 

Commonly, conflict between parents and grandparents occurs when: 

  • Grandparents give the child extra treats or toys even when Mum or Dad has said “no”.  They may even feel that it’s their right to do so because day-to-day discipline is no longer their responsibility, and because they’re taking on some care duties. Parents may be surprised – especially comparing what they see now with their own memories of a stricter upbringing. 
  • Grandparents want to pass on their wisdom and experience in the form of frequent suggestions, but this can seem to the parent like constant criticism. Most parents don’t like unsolicited advice and therefore may not respond well.

Parents may feel annoyed and frustrated, or even disrespected, if grandparents don’t agree with their methods of child-rearing. And grandparents may feel upset because they’re just trying to be helpful, and want the best for their family.

It may be a relief to know you’re not the only one dealing with these kinds of problems. And there are ways to bridge some of the communication and expectation gaps, and help bring everyone onto common ground when it comes to managing children’s behaviour.

In a trial of a special Triple P program for grandparents, participants reported lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress, and (not surprisingly) fewer grandchild behaviour problems. Grandparents also said they felt more confident when having conversations about delicate parenting topics with parents, and this resulted in a better relationship with their own (adult) children.  

Adjusting to new roles takes time for everyone. A step in the right direction is to think about all doing a parenting course together, (parents and grandparents), to help everyone to agree on the basic issues. 

The Queensland Government is currently funding free access to Triple P across Queensland. Programs available include one-to-one, group, online and self-help. Check the Triple P parent site for more information: www.triplep-parenting.net 

* Many school chaplains are trained to deliver Triple P in Queensland schools. ISo If this is something you’re interested in, check with your local school chaplain to find out if they are a qualified Triple P trainer. 

Posted: 11/08/2020

Fairness, shame and racism – how Covid-19 fears are stoking a dangerous fire

I’m not sure about other families, but my children definitely have a finely tuned sense of what is fair and what is not. “His slice of pizza is bigger…

I’m not sure about other families, but my children definitely have a finely tuned sense of what is fair and what is not. “His slice of pizza is bigger than mine!” “Why do I have to go to bed earlier than her?” “But I cleaned up after dinner last night!”

As parents we are constantly under pressure to make sure each child is being treated with complete fairness.

Last week we heard the news here in Queensland that three young ladies were found to have caught the Covid-19 virus in Melbourne, and then lied about their whereabouts when returning home. Naturally this put the state under great pressure to ensure we didn’t see a surge in the pandemic locally.

Soon after the identity of the girls was released, with their photos and names shown on the frontpage of our state newspaper, under the headline “Enemies of the State”, there was no hiding. They had done wrong and they had put us all at risk.

After the images and names were released, the comments on social media started rolling in thick and fast.

In these extraordinary times, when emotions are high, it was no surprise to see these young women recieve a lot of criticism. Sadly, it was also no surprise that the women, who happened to be of African heritage, started receiving a steady stream of vitriolic comments based on their race, which had nothing to do with their actions.

When I checked in with a Sudanese friend he confirmed that he and others of African heritage were having to cope with hurtful comments, as a result of the actions of these three women. He said “It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.” No it is certainly not fair!

We call it racism, when people are treated unfairly because of their skin colour or background.

One of the rules I have adopted in learning how to engage well with people of a different background, culture or faith than my own is: Do not judge a person by what other people of their faith or community do.

This reminder helps me to look at a person and acknowledge that while they may come from a people group who share some similarities, they are also unique and special, and need to be treated as an individual.

So yes it is right that someone is challenged and held accountable for their actions. This is justice, and if they have done the wrong thing they need to receive the consequences. That is fair.

However it is not fair to then transfer their behaviour onto all other people who look like them. Personally, I do not represent all men, or all Christians, or even all coffee-drinking-Brisbane-dwelling-right-handed-amateur-runner-Christian-men. So I should not need to answer for the actions of another person who shares any of my traits – be they spiritual, physical, cultural or otherwise.

Let us take steps to overcome the temptation to fall into racism or any other -ism that doesn’t see a person for their inherent value as an individual created by a loving God. And let’s help our children do the same.

About the author…

Tim works in Cross-Cultural Innovations for SU, seeking to foster vibrant ministry with people of minority cultures and other faiths. Prior to this Tim spent 8 years with The Feast in the UK, engaging youth of different faiths, and 10 years in various roles with SU Qld.

Posted: 7/08/2020

Leading through change and raising up the next generation

As a young SU Camper I recall looking up to my camp leaders as people I wanted to be like one day. They inspired me in my faith and…

As a young SU Camper I recall looking up to my camp leaders as people I wanted to be like one day. They inspired me in my faith and encouraged me to grow and develop my skills to one day lead others as they once led me.

A few weeks ago I was reminded of my own faith and leadership journey as I led a group of young people who were the children of the leaders I once looked up to. I was reminded of the legacy their parents passed on to me.

As Christian leaders we are called to serve those we lead and to empower them to carry on the legacy that was laid down for us so future generations can be blessed.

In this year where we’ve come to expect the unexpected, I wanted to share some of the lessons I’ve learned about leading through change and equipping the next generation. I hope you find my experience and learnings helpful for you in your own journey.

Earlier this year I faced the challenge of not being able to run one of our most popular training events – an event that has been running for 40 years. Covid meant we couldn’t run the event as a ‘traditional camp’ – we had to adapt and move online.

Here are some of the things I learnt along this journey…

  1. It’s important to partner with excited people: When I suggested the opportunity to the senior leadership group of running a virtual program, it quickly became evident some were excited and others not. Rather than try and take everyone on the journey, I gave freedom to the group to either join the journey or jump off and what was left were those passionate about doing something new.
  2. Enthusiasm is magnetic: The passion of this group of leaders brought their peers on the journey. It was so encouraging to watch them bring together a team of people and show them how their existing excitement could be applied to a new environment. The leaders were not only taking an opportunity to lead but bringing others into the space with them
  3. Model Faithfulness: My role was to get out of the way of the programming and take on the enabling role. I was guiding a team full of ideas, my role could be to look at ways for them to outwork these ideas and then throw in some suggestions when appropriate.
  4. Pressure creates great disciples”: We were doing something brand new and let’s be honest not everything went to plan. What was so encouraging is that along the entire journey, everyone was willing to adapt to change and accept there would be some bumps in the process. Mark Sayers says “Pressure creates great disciples” and trying something new certainly puts everyone in leadership under pressure and prompts a reliance on God.
  5. Honour the builders: In the midst of so much change, I was challenged to acknowledge the people who built the foundation for these young leaders. I was able to invite parents and supporters of our new generation of leaders to hear their excitement about what was happening now in their young people, but also thank and acknowledge their time and leadership before that helped shape the young leaders in the room.

In a season of change, there is so much potential for us to allow a younger generation to step in and be the leaders of something new. My experience of the last three months is there is great fruit in getting out of their way and guiding them on their journey.

About the author…

Beavs is a former High School Maths and Christian Education Teacher who has been working and volunteering with SU QLD Camps for almost 20 years. As Camps Specialist he supports volunteers and chaplains run camps and community outreach events throughout Queensland, reaching over 4500 young people. Beavs is married with 3 children, and loves coffee and watching sport.

Posted: 30/07/2020

The Lens – a free Bible study from Morling College

Have you ever wished you could study the Bible in depth without formal study? Morling College believes in making biblical foundations available to everyone who wishes to deepen their…

Have you ever wished you could study the Bible in depth without formal study? Morling College believes in making biblical foundations available to everyone who wishes to deepen their understanding of God and the Bible outside a formal setting. The Lens is a free, online course designed to give you access to the study you desire. The Lens is free, fun and flexible. Simply complete the enrolment form for The Lens and you are ready to get started!

Click here to find out more and register!

https://www.morling.edu.au/apply-now-the-lens/

Posted: 21/07/2020

Things to look forward to after Coronavirus – a children’s e-book

Australian Childhood Foundation has released another e-book entitled “Things to look forward to after Coronavirus” It’s a great, fun read you can do with your children or children you…

Australian Childhood Foundation has released another e-book entitled “Things to look forward to after Coronavirus”

It’s a great, fun read you can do with your children or children you know. Click here to access this free e-book!

https://www.childhood.org.au/app/uploads/2020/04/Things-to-Look-Forward-to-Resource.pdf

Posted: 20/07/2020

How I connected with God through art and nature at Create Camp

My wife, Megan, and I ran an online camp over the Winter holidays called ‘Create Camp’. Megan is an author, illustrator and artist with a passion to connect people…

My wife, Megan, and I ran an online camp over the Winter holidays called ‘Create Camp’.

Megan is an author, illustrator and artist with a passion to connect people to God, the natural world and themselves through art.

Over the three days of the camp, we met online with a small group of young people and leaders to have fun, learn new art techniques, express ourselves through art and reflect on the deeper things of life. In our last session, we asked everyone to show us their art journals and share something about the pieces that were special to them. I was blown away by the creativity of both our campers and leaders and impressed by the depth of their personal reflections.

The idea behind Create Camp is simple…

If we pay attention to our own hearts and to the world around us, we just might discover that there is more going on than we first thought.

Here are some things we learned over our three days together:

Day 1
Megan taught us to stop and pay attention to the natural world around us. She encouraged us to observe the shape, colour, texture and shades of simple natural objects and showed us how to reproduce those things with charcoal and water colours. We were sent out into our local habitats to take notice of it and record, in an arty way, what we found there. We were reminded that nature is the art of God, and more than that, that the good news of God is not just written down in the Bible, but in the trees, flowers, clouds and stars.

Day 2
We added the use of Condy’s crystals, lemon juice and collage to our suite of art techniques. Megan encouraged us to consider the beauty and generosity of nature by reflecting on the endless supply of lemon trees available to us from the seeds of just one lemon. We were reminded of a time when Jesus invited us to consider the ‘lilies of the field’ and the ‘birds of the air’ so that we might understand God’s love, care and provision for us.

Day 3
Megan informed us that in nature, food scraps can be transformed into healthy, rich soil through the natural process of composting. She also taught us that there are no mistakes in art; that every splotch or smear can be redeemed to create new, beautiful, unexpected artworks. These examples prompted us to reflect on God as ‘The Great Recycler’ who doesn’t waste any of our experiences, struggles, failings or mistakes. When we trust God, they can be transformed into beautiful, healthy soil, ready to grow great things in our lives.

On this last day, Megan also taught us how to bind our art pieces together into an art journal. We brought together our finished pieces, our unfinished pieces and even some blank pages. The invitation here was to view our lives as a work-in-progress art journal that includes some beautiful pieces, some not so beautiful pieces (that are not finished with yet), and some pieces not yet begun. The question was posed to us, “What would your life look like if you handed it over to God?”

Well, that’s some of the lessons we learned at Create Camp. We hope that maybe there is something in there for you today…

 

About the author…

Steve has over 30 years experience in school, community and church-based youth work. He is currently working as the Training & Development Manager at SU QLD, overseeing teams that deliver training and produce resources for SU QLD staff and volunteers. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Social Work, Politics & Government, and Christian Studies.

Posted: 16/07/2020

BibleProject Podcast

Have you heard or listened to the BibleProject Podcast? Each episode, hosts Tim and Jon invite you into theological, application-based and honest discussions around certain aspects of, and stories…

Have you heard or listened to the BibleProject Podcast?

Each episode, hosts Tim and Jon invite you into theological, application-based and honest discussions around certain aspects of, and stories in, the Bible.

The podcast can be listened to for free on their website here: https://bibleproject.com/podcasts/the-bible-project-podcast/

Posted: 15/07/2020

A table mat with deep and meaningful questions for family discussions

The guys over at Here2Stay have developed a range of table mats with deep and meaningful questions for families to talk about and discuss over breakfast, lunch or dinner….

The guys over at Here2Stay have developed a range of table mats with deep and meaningful questions for families to talk about and discuss over breakfast, lunch or dinner.

We think this is a great, innovative way to spark some potentially powerful conversations in families.

To download these free tablemat pdf files click here: https://here2stay.org.au/chatmatters/

Posted: 14/07/2020

PrayerMate is a FREE app that brings your prayer points together!

Prayer is an amazing privilege, but it’s also really hard work (the apostle Paul compares it to a wrestling match!) PrayerMate is an award-winning Christian prayer app that seeks…

Prayer is an amazing privilege, but it’s also really hard work (the apostle Paul compares it to a wrestling match!) PrayerMate is an award-winning Christian prayer app that seeks to help you actually pray for all the people and causes you care about.

PrayerMate brings all your prayer points together. Whether it’s your personal prayer points for friends and family, regular updates from some fantastic mission organisations, or the latest PDF prayer letter that just arrived in your inbox, PrayerMate puts it all together in one place and helps you get on and pray.

It’s available for free on iOS and Android. Links below! 🙂

iOS: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/prayermate-quiet-time-organiser/id434815549?mt=8&ls=1

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.geero.prayermate&pcampaignid=MKT-Other-global-all-co-prtnr-py-PartBadge-Mar2515-1

Posted: 13/07/2020

Guardians of Ancorda – free app game for children that brings the Bible to life!

Guardians of Ancora is a free-to-download game for children that brings the stories of the Bible to life. It is an amazing, free tool that you can use to…

Guardians of Ancora is a free-to-download game for children that brings the stories of the Bible to life. It is an amazing, free tool that you can use to engage children with the Bible in an exciting new way.

This e-book is filled with ideas on how you can use Guardians of Ancora for family faith building time – or just enjoying time together.

Click here to download the game, access the e-book and find out more! https://content.scriptureunion.org.uk/resource/guardians-ancora-family-activity-bank

Posted: 10/07/2020

What is Family Space?

Family Space is a resource-based website that’s all about nurturing the family unit.

Our mission is to equip, empower and nurture family households and church families across Australia.

Family Space seeks to support children, teenagers, parents and churches through practical resources, activities and expert advice.

We’re all about nurturing healthy families and creating healthy communities.

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