AN EIGHTEEN YEAR OLD CHILDREN'S PASTOR...?

Friday, 14 April 2017

I'll give $100,000 Power Zone dollars to whomever can spot the dab first...

How was that for an unrelated ice-breaker to open up what I assume might turn into a very long post?


I was nine years old when I first stepped foot into Power Zone. It was the second term holidays and my parents weren't able to get time off from work. As my brother and I protested (like we always did), we both knew that it wouldn't change the fact that we were going to have to spend the next week sitting in a holiday programme. We had previously attended around four different programmes at the time and we... DID. NOT. LIKE. ANY. OF. THEM. Not even a little bit. 

I have a vague memory of one of programmes taking us to visit the sky tower and I remember sitting in the van on the way to the city feeling like I'd rather die than spend the day with a bunch of leaders and kids who didn't know my name and had no interest in learning it. I didn't feel welcome and I certainly did not want to be there.

These holidays were different however, because despite my preconceived ideas about how I had told myself the week was going to go - God had something different planned. I fell in love with the programme the moment I set foot in the door. They say that it only takes someone 7 minutes of being in a church for them to decide whether they like it or not, it only took me 7 seconds to decide that I loved it. I felt welcome and accepted from the moment I was greeted by a friendly face. I stood back during the programme and looked at the leaders they had volunteering. I could see that there was something different about them from the other leaders I had encountered at different programmes. I saw the way they not only interacted between themselves but with us kids. I could see that the difference in them was that they were genuinely in it for what they could invest in us and not what they could get out of it for themselves. They chose to take the amazing love of God that they themselves had experienced and work at sharing it with each other and every one of us kids through the way they served. I saw what God did in them and I wanted it for myself. That was the holidays I decided I wanted to be a Power Zone leader. 

I attended that holiday programme every holidays after that alongside my brother. I went from wishing away the end of the school term to counting down the days till I could be reunited with the leaders again. It was quite literally my favourite place on the planet. 

When I was in my first year of high school one of my friends invited me along to a Sunday Power Zone service after hearing me complain about not having any friends at the current church my family was attending. All it took was one Sunday service for me to feel like I was at home once again. I eventually convinced my parents that that was where I wanted to be and they would drop me off at Power Zone on a Sunday morning on their way to church and then come and pick me up on their way home. That year I was a leader at the very last holiday programme they ever had and have been volunteering there ever since. 

In these seven years that I have been volunteering in this children's programme I have served under four different children's pastors. The last of which has the biggest impact on my life.

When I was going into my last year of high school the leadership in the programme changed once again and I had decided that I was going to leave. I felt like I had done my time. I didn't exactly like the direction the programme had taken and felt like I wasn't thriving in it anymore so had planned on serving my last Sunday until I heard who was taking over. One of my leaders that I had loved and looked up to as a kid in the holiday programme had taken the job and was coming on board to run the programme. Upon hearing the news I decided to stay purely for her. 

My last year of high school was quickly coming to an end and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do career wise. Nothing interested me to the point where I decided that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The only thing I hadn't lost my passion for was church. I loved the way the programme was running under the new leadership and felt just as passionate about it again as the moment I first walked through the doors as a kid. 

After a couple of months of joking about it with the children's pastor, I decided to do an internship and study at the churches ministry training college part time. This is what I have been doing since February of this year. Through my internship I have started running the new junior leadership programme with year 6, 7 and 8 kids who are wanting to be trained up as leaders themselves. Through this I have been privileged to get to know and inspire a bunch of awesome kids who are going to make a really big impact on the next generation through Power Zone. This was more than I ever dreamt of getting the privilege to do for the ministry.

I was about 2 months into my internship when I found out that the children's pastor - whom had come to be more of an older sister to me than my supervisor - had been offered her dream job at a children's camp in Canada. I was so excited for her but also very upset at the fact that I was going to loose her and would have to adapt to whomever took her place. 

When I was told that she was leaving, she also asked me to think about applying to take her place. I was a little taken back by the idea. I was only eighteen, had been interning for 2 months at the time and still felt like I had so much to learn - in my opinion it didn't make much sense for me to take the job. I said that I would go away and think about it. I did and decided that there was no way I would ever get it so there was no point in applying for the job anyway, might as well save myself the disappointment. 

A week later after I had made up my mind that I wouldn't give it a go I was approached by two of my friends who I hadn't spoken to practically since graduating. The first thing they both said to me was "I heard they were taking in applications for the job, I think you should apply." 

Having not mentioned to anyone that planned not to, there was no doubt in my mind that that was God. It was then that I thought, alright I might as well just go for it. If I didn't get it - which I was pretty certain I wouldn't - I was going to be okay because I was absolutely loving internship and that wouldn't change no matter the outcome.

Soon I was called in for an interview.

Then shortlisted again.

Now as of the 11th of April 2017 my whole world has been flipped upside down. At the age of 18 and after only 3 months of internship I have been given the job as children's pastor. 

CHILDREN'S PASTOR?!

After 10 years of commitment to the ministry I have been blessed to be able to live out my wildest dream and RUN the programme myself. 

It's literally the craziest thing that I NEVER would have ever thought would become a reality. It doesn't make much sense. But when things don't make much sense but they fall into place anyway - that's when you know that it's all God. He is SO good! 

This is where my blog comes in. I initially wanted to log and share my experience and lessons I've learnt through my internship BUT God had something greater in mind. You now get to journey with me as I take on this new role, learn and grow more than I ever than I ever thought I would being fresh out of high school. 

I'm crazy excited to see whats to come! I would love for you to journey alongside me!


XO, Danielle

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