Proposal for the Future of Kingdom Light and Cornerstone
If you attended the online service on the 7th of February, you will have heard an interview between Andrew, Suzanne and myself, presenting our vision for youth and children's work. If you missed it or want to watch it again you can do so here. This proposal is a key step in implementing that vision. We are now consulting with the church on these proposals, having already consulted with parents, young people and volunteers. There will be a link at the bottom of this document to a survey for you to give your opinions on our proposals.
In terms of the planned timing of implementing these proposal, our aim is to bring in the changes when the Sunday Youth and Children's work returns to in-person meeting, something that, due to the continued Covid-19 restrictions, we do not have a date for yet.
Kingdom Light and Cornerstone are a key aspect of our Youth and Children’s Work. They will likely be the first group that children and young people of Christian families in the area encounter, as well as being the discipleship groups that meet most frequently (most of the others being once a month).
Additionally, these are the groups that are most obviously linked to our church services. There is a natural progression path from Kingdom Light to Cornerstone to Service and that is a path that we should be encouraging the children and young people to take.
Kingdom Light is aimed at Years 1-6, which can mean an age range of 5 – 11 (and possibly greater as See and Know is not being currently offered and a reception age child wants to join in).
Cornerstone is aimed at those in year 7+, with an informal expectation that young people will begin transitioning from this to the “main” service between the ages of 16-18.
A recent change, which could be regarded as laying the foundations of transforming these groups, was to bring the themes in line with the themes in the in-church part of the service, with the same Bible readings etc.
The aim of these changes is twofold. Firstly, to reduce the strain on leaders in both groups of having to plan for a wide, and often unpredictable age range; and secondly (and perhaps more importantly) to formalise the transition from youth and children’s groups to the in-church service, whilst also ensuring that we have high quality, age appropriate, teaching in place for them.
See and Know will be re-established with leaders ready to run a session every week. Initially it is likely that this will happen on an ad-hoc basis when children of this age range attend. However, what is key is that each week the space will be set up, the session prepared and the leaders ready to lead it if it is necessary.
The format of Kingdom Light will remain similar to its current layout, however, instead of being Year 1 – Year 6, it will drop down to Year 1 – Year 5, with the bottom age being rigidly defined as well – with children younger that Year 1 being catered for by See and Know.
Aside from making the group easier to manage for leaders, this transition happening in Year 6 rather than Year 7 means that young people don’t have to make all their transitions (Sunday groups, school, weekday groups) at once. This should make all their transitions easier as there will always be a constant group for them to attend.
Cornerstone will split into two groups – Cornerstone 1 will be for those in Year 6 to approximately Year 9. As with Kingdom Light, Cornerstone 1 will be similar to its current in-person format, with the group meeting during the service as it currently does. The exact transition out of this group will vary between young people, as a more spiritually mature young person will be ready to transition earlier than others. But the range that it should be encouraged to happen in will be during Year 9 or the beginning of Year 10. The transition may take place gradually, meaning that there may be a time when young people are attending both Cornerstone 1 and Cornerstone 2.
Cornerstone 2 will run from that transition point up to around 18. The key difference is that the young people in Cornerstone 2 will remain in the service, rather than going out for a group session. Instead, a leader will be sitting in a designated area for the young people to sit with, although they may sit with their parents if they prefer. After the service, they will have priority to get refreshments and then will have a 15–20-minute discussion on the topic of the sermon. As this will all happen within the main hall of the church, from a safeguarding point of view it could be run by a single leader (at least initially), although a second one, particularly if it was able to be the preacher on occasion, would add value. The expectation would be that at some point during Year 13, or perhaps the following year if they have not left for university, that they no longer need these youth focused additional sessions.
This creates a smooth transition from fully within the youth and children’s work framework at the beginning of year 8, to fully within the in-church service framework at 18/19, a transition that mirrors the natural transition from child to adult that happens during this period, meaning that they grow in their involvement in the gathered Sunday worship of the church as they grow and develop themselves.
The first, and most obvious, impact on the church is that this framework for the Sunday youth and children’s provision will require a greater number of leaders than the current one. At the moment we run the two groups with four leaders, this layout will need around seven or eight (2 for See and Know, 2 for Kingdom Light, 2 for Cornerstone 1 and 1-2 for Cornerstone 2) which is almost double. It also means that there will need to be four leaders planning sessions rather than the current two, which means that not only will church members need to step up and volunteer to help run these groups, but a number of them will need to be confident in planning and leading sessions.
Secondly, and no less importantly, there will be some changes to the service itself. The increase in young people being encouraged to remain in church during the service means that there are aspects of the service that will need to intentionally cater for them, as well as for the rest of the congregation. This does not mean that all our services are made into All Age Worship services; but rather that aspects of the service such as the part of the sermon where the application of the message is considered and the prayers will include content that is relevant to those young people, as well as content that is relevant to the rest of the church. It may also mean that new worship music, from places like New Wine or Rend Collective is added into our musical library as it is made available.
Since the start of lockdown, we have begun a pattern of having the children and young people in the collective part of the service up until the reading before then splitting into groups. This is something that we intend to continue with; and the steering group is currently working with the leaders and preachers’ group to plan the best way to implement this change when we return to in-person worship.
The more people who are able to provide feedback to these proposals, the better we will be able to ensure that what we deliver is the best for everyone. If you would like to give your feedback, please don't hesitate to email me at email@example.com