What is required to help children “fall in love with God forever”?
As children’s ministry leaders from across the Estonian Conference of the Adventist Church met together at the Estonian Children’s Ministry Seminar (ECMS), they were looking not only to be inspired but also to discover a wholistic understanding of how to help children develop a sustainable faith.
Held April 1-3, 2022, in Simisalu, Estonia, the training, led by Trans-European Division (TED) family, women, and children’s ministries director Karen Holford, covered a variety of topics, including emotional intelligence, understanding the teenage brain, and creative spirituality.
“My main objective is to help people think about the simple things that they can do to help children grow spiritually,” Holford said. “I don’t want to put a heavy burden on people’s shoulders; instead, I want to show them how easy it is to transform children’s lives and help them to fall in love with God forever.”
Afraid that she might forget some of the ideas shared, Külli Keel, mother of three young children, decided to write down a long to-do list for herself. “One important idea I am taking away is to try and strengthen my and my kids’ positive character traits,” Keel said.
Eve Nõmm found it “impossible not to get fired up!” Nõmm said she appreciated that the focus of the seminar was always on God. “It was like a mixture of family therapy and a spiritual ‘hackathon,’ ” she said, referencing the events that bring people together to solve problems or improve a product.
Estonian Conference children’s ministry director Aiki Pärna said she waited impatiently for the pandemic health restrictions to be lifted so the seminar could take place. Thrilled that at last the leaders could meet again, she challenged the twenty-five attendees, “Take three ideas away and put them into practice in your home church, and this weekend will have been a success!” she said.
Here is a sample of three ideas to take home, taken from the training event: