There is an opportunity for an inspired university student or recent graduate to take a "gap year" for the Lord’s service in a charming part of England. This ministry involves working with children, youth, and parents in a scenic village in England's Lake District, just below Scotland and overlooking the Irish Sea.
The village is called Bootle in Cumbria, and it has 400 residents, an ancient Church of England church, and the Evangelical chapel where our folks serve. Dating back to 1780 AD, this chapel is four years younger than America!
Most of the village children attend the Church of England school through age 11 and then are bused to secondary school in a nearby town. Our ministry is focused on village children and capitalizes on the excellent relationship between the school and community.
John and his wife Jan Ward are active members of FBC Lake Jackson, TX, and served two six-month terms as American Interim Pastor in Bootle Evangelical Church. Through the Wards and 4 other American volunteer interim pastors, the Lord identified the providential opportunity to do the children/youth ministry which started in January 2017.
When the chapel secured a bi-vocational British pastor, the interim pastor part of the ministry finished, but the children and youth ministry continued. The current American volunteer, Malorie McGuff from Normandale Baptist Church in Ft. Worth focuses her ministry on the school children and teenagers while building relationships with parents. She is finishing her two-year term of service and will soon return to the US.
This work is established and has been a delightful experience for those contributing. It now needs someone to keep it going, especially considering the momentum it now has.
Like many rural churches in England, Bootle Evangelical Church has declined over the years. Most of their membership is now elderly. Outreach to children and young people has also declined. But, the outreach by American volunteers has proven successful in establishing excellent relationships in the community and school. Over time, the children especially are becoming interested in things of God.
At Bootle, our volunteers provide valuable help in the local school as teachers' assistants with such assignments as listening to pupils read and being with them during their lunchtime. In doing so, volunteerswe develop rapport and establish a link to draw pupils to the ministry of the chapel.
Other activities for children/youth workers include Holiday Club (like our Vacation Bible School) and, periodic "Messy Church" sessions where pupils may attend if a parent participates as a helper. These both have been (vVery effective and well-received). Parents have expressed appreciation for both the time and the lessons learned in these messy church sessions.
The local school also has regular "Open the Book" sessions, where our volunteers get to bring a Bible story to life asby having the children act it out.
On Friday nights, the older-youth meet for fun, food, fellowship, and a Bible study. These teenagers have grown in their Bible understanding and in their walk with God.
This assignment at Bootle is ideal for mature young people from the States, about the age of recent college graduates, to give a year or perhaps two years, living in another culture and sharing God's word.
The situation in Bootle is typical of other towns and villages across England. This ministryWe hasve been invited to help in other places and simply does not have the candidates to meet the needs. We hope to hear from candidates and we know that the Lord will revitalize evangelical work through this ministry to children and youth.
For information about the need at Bootle and opportunities in other British Baptist and Evangelical Free Churches, contact Chuck McComb, President, American Interim Pastor Ministries, Inc. (non-profit and all volunteer) at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 281-799-1869.