This term we have had the incredible opportunity to see ‘The Starting Line’ ran in a local school and local church. ‘The Starting Line’ is a sports themed, Alpha-style video series for children, exploring the basics of the Christian faith.
The series was originally created in-house at SASW Trust by Tabz, Hettie and Emily during the pandemic as a series of videos following similar content to the ‘Alpha Course‘ created by Holy Trinity Brompton, which is now used widely by millions of people worldwide as they begin exploring the basics of the Christian faith for themselves. We felt led to create something that would provide local Children with that same opportunity but with the added benefit of being local schools workers who are well known to thousands of children in Southport. The videos are short and snappy with games, personal stories, ‘coaches tactics’ and questions to discuss – all in the theme of Good Sport. (Watch the whole series here for free.)
Our hope was that the ‘Starting Line’ could be used in local primary schools (at least in church schools), but also as a resource for local churches as a way of following on from our work in schools with the children in their neighbourhood. And that’s exactly what we’ve seen…
First up: We have used it within ‘Sweaty Church’ in a local Primary school looking at sessions on ‘Who is Jesus?’, ‘Why did Jesus die?’, ‘Who is the Holy Spirit?’, ‘What is prayer?’ etc. It has been great to see the children moving beyond ‘Sunday school answer’ to considering these questions for themselves more deeply and personally.
Secondly, a local church Kids Club has been running ‘The Starting Line’ and seen massive amounts of growth in the children. Hettie is employed separately by this church on top of her work for SASW Trust, but there is huge overlap as we also work with most of the same children in school, most of whom aren’t from Christian families.
When discussing Jesus’ death and resurrection, one Y6 girl said that she had asked her Uncle on the way to the Kids Club how to become a Christian, because she had decided that she wanted to. So we talked about it as a group and 8 others (a couple being her classmates and friends) decided to respond too and made personal choice to follow Jesus! It was especially beautiful that the conversation was initiated by a child who had clearly made a personal decision that she had thought through for herself.
The next week another Y6 girl came to the club for the first time, after being invited by friends. We were discussing who the Holy Spirit is and what He does. She observed that her friends were very interested in faith and that it was normal to join in. We gave the children the opportunity to have some quiet time and tell the Holy Spirit what they need. You could have heard a pin drop (which is not normal for this group of lively kids!). The leaders really sensed the Holy Spirit and some of us had happy tears in our eyes! We then asked the children if there was anything that they would like to share or anything that they felt that the Holy Spirit had done. The new Y6 girl said that she had been worrying all week about something that was happening and that she’d asked the Holy Spirit for peace. Her face lit up as she told us that she felt very peaceful and didn’t feel worried anymore! Other children also shared excitedly what had happened in our quiet time too. It was incredible to hear the children share so honestly and comfortably in front of each other. I love the expectation that children have; when we say that the Holy Spirit can help them… they pray believing that He will do something!
We pray each week at the Kids Club. Some children pray out loud every week, whereas others choose not to. When discussing what prayer is and why and how we pray, it was so great to see some children choose to pray who often choose not to, and one child who prayed out loud for the first time! We love that the children are taking things at their own pace and having their own journey of faith, not doing things just because others are or they think that we want them to.
There was so much excitement when it came to discussing ‘What is The Bible?’! The children knew that we were gifting them with their own Bibles (Adventure Bibles for the younger ones and Youth Bibles for the older ones). They had lots of questions and were really excited to share what they had read, what it meant and what stood out to them! There were a number of the Y6’s in particular who were so excited to take their Bibles home and use them to develop their own faith. One of them was hugging her Bible, saying that she loves it and that she can’t wait to read it at home. We are really expectant to see what will happen over the coming weeks as these children have access to The Bible at home!
If you’re a praying person, please pray for these children and the journey that they are on. Pray that families and classmates come to find faith in God because of these children and what God is doing in their lives.
We know of another local church starting these sessions soon during their Sunday morning kids work, and we pray that those children will also grow in faith together and inspire the wider church family too. If you would like to use the Starting Line at your church or with children in your family, it’s all ready to use online from YouTube. But, we’d love it if you could let us know so we can share and encourage others with more stories like we’ve seen already! (We also have abridged versions of the videos too if you need – just get in touch)