I want to draw your attention to the often poor conditions in which the Child and Family worker, who are often (though not exclusively female) work under in Australian churches.
Most positions are part-time, and fail to take into account the training and “precious cargo” they care for. Or, for that matter the amount of preparation required to educate a quality Child and Family worker.
By calling them workers, you reinforce the idea that they are there to DO, not lead, pastor, or mission. You restrict the work that they have been trained to do by restricting them to the fulfilment of a “need” not a mission.
They sit between the congregation that employs them and the “real world” with all it’s new laws and regulations regarding Working With Children. Often their advice is not listened to. They are trained to place the “Child in the midst” of every conversation, so their view may differ to others.
Ultimately this creates burn out.
Child and Family Pastors or the ministry of Child and Family empowers everyone.
It is a concern of mine that we underutilise the ministry capabilities because we don’t see the broader picture, or because we do not have systems in place to allow even the smallest of congregations to access their expertise.
Child and Family Ministry deals with the weak and voiceless of our community and those who are trying to bring them up with faith in a faithless society, or outreach to those who as yet have not come to faith.
Many are not paid for the role that they perform within a congregation.
Every one (who I have met) works from a place of discernment that this is the work that God call’s them too.
Let’s pray that Child and Family Ministry continues to gain acceptance in our Australian Churches, and supports and refresh’s the faith formation of Australia, while validating those who work in this field.