Where are they now? - Amy Brown
Since finishing her theological studies in 2017, Amy has developed a vision to grow the kingdom amongst young people in Victoria, where she currently works as a children’s and youth minister at St Jude’s, Carlton.
Part of the attraction of her new ministry is that there was an opportunity to resource and encourage ministry to young people throughout the state, not just in her own parish. She has been able to think about questions like, “How do we resource and equip churches to disciple the young where there may be only one or two teens? How do we create a network of churches?”
To help address these questions Amy has partnered with Graham Stanton (former Principal of Youthworks College) and the Centre for Children’s and Youth Ministry at Ridley College. She meets regularly with a network of kids and youth ministers for conversation, encouragement and a meal. This helps to “stop the isolation that many of them feel”.
They are also hosting a training day in August. Amy says “This kind of training hasn’t happened in the Anglican church in Melbourne for a while”. They will cover topics like intergenerational ministry, discipling children beyond Sundays, and building leaders.
Amy also started a Leaders in Training (LiT) conference using the materials from Youthworks Leaders in Training. This started with her own youth in Years 10—12 last year, and this year she invited other churches and 12 teenagers attended. She sees it as a privilege to encourage them to start lunch time groups at their schools where there is no SRE. “The schools my kids are at are particularly hostile to the gospel. A lunch time group can’t have any adult involvement at all, it has to be student led and it’s a big task to get one off the ground.”
As a children’s and youth minister, Amy’s focus at church has been outreach to young people. She is training kids to be witnesses within their schools where they are often seen as very weird. “We need to equip them with what they need to share the gospel with their friends.”
St Jude’s has two morning services with large children’s programs, and a youth group of 25—30 teenagers. In addition, St Jude’s also runs a homework club for young people who live in the nearby housing commission area and a community church lunch on Sundays. Amy is working hard to encourage kids, who are often immigrants from the Horn of Africa, to come along to the kids club and Friday night youth group.
Amy also oversees a respite group called Recess once a month for families who have children with intellectual disabilities. A great encouragement has been the participation of one of her LiT attendees, Lauren*. Lauren was learning sign language for fun and Amy asked her to help at Recess. One day they went to the museum, and Amy saw Lauren happily playing with a five year old girl who was non-verbal, and had never been more than five metres from her mother. Lauren “was later talking to the mum, who really opened up and this led to some really great conversations.” Amy has also seen a “a miraculous change” in Lauren as she has found ways to serve.
Amy is looking forward to the youth camp in August. She has been talking to a Year 7 girl who is excited to come, “and she is inviting a friend who is not a Christian, because she really wants her to become a Christian, it’s so lovely to see the little evangelists!”
She is also excited about two new outreach ventures. She is working on an application to do a Mainly Music playgroup next year. “They provide all the resources, leaders build relationships, and provide a very clear link to church.” She is also organising a kid’s holiday club before Christmas. The kids will learn the parts for nativity play: Born is the King and then invite their parents to the Christmas Eve service to watch it.
The move to Melbourne had its costs for Amy. Her Grandmother died a few weeks before she left and she struggled with guilt. “I felt that I was leaving at a bad time. But is there ever a good time? But you can go, and God will bring it all together.” It has helped that Amy was already a close friend to the minister and his family at St Jude’s and that two of her friends from Moore College also moved to Melbourne, but she is also working hard to maintain her long-distance relationships.
Amy wants to encourage graduates to think about moving outside their comfort zone as Sydney is so gospel rich. Other states have far fewer children’s and youth ministers, and there are less than a handful of full-timers. To build the work long-term there is a need for ministers to work part-time to develop the ministry they do. Could that be you?
Pray for Amy
Pray for St Jude’s Carlton as they move into a new building. Pray especially for those involved with kids and youth ministry as they will need to adjust to this change.
Pray for Amy that God would grant her wisdom as she manages this change and reassures people.
Pray for the upcoming youth camp in August that God will work powerfully in the hearts of the youth.
Pray that God would raise up people to share gospel with young people in Victoria.
*Name changed for privacy reasons