Why Join Paraklesis?
I love that little phrase, "passion led us here." I'm guessing you are visiting our website because you are involved in children's, youth and family ministry, or you are a church leader, or you are a parent - whoever you are - you are welcome!
I've been passionate about children's and youth ministry for 35 years. When I started out, I had no idea I'd still be here over three decades later! There is just something about ministry with children, young people and families that keeps me hooked!
At times I have had wonderful people alongside me in ministry, at other times I have walked a lonely road (or so it has seemed) - with Paraklesis we are hoping to create an Association of Members who support and encourage each other, whether we share a denominational heritage or not, have been in ministry for three or thirty years, whether our heart is for the under 5s or those heading off to University . .
Together we are stronger, together we can advocate for children and young people with a louder voice. You might have noticed that front and centre on the Home page of the website are three core articles - one on employment essentials; one exploring calling and one about our wellbeing and health in ministry. These three articles sum up our core values.
Our Core Values
Employment Essentials. Way back in 2019, I conducted a survey for the Bishop of Leicester, "Terms and Conditions of Salaried Workers" - we discovered some excellent practice across the churches (some 630 people completed the survey) but also some who were finding things difficult and feeling a lack of support. We also discovered that many church leaders have had no training in line management and supervision - a key practice that contributes to the wellbeing of employees and whether or not they will be able to flourish in ministry. We will be regularly sharing articles and content that will be useful for Associate Members on topics related to employment and terms and conditions, but also for Churches who join to encourage best practice.
Calling. When we conducted our survey of 630+ salaried children's, youth and families ministers, some 74% said YES to this question,
Would you stay in children's, youth and family ministry until retirement if you could?
If you could . . . that is the challenge! For many of us, this ministry life with children, young people and families is a calling. We would love to see this vocational pathways developed in our various denominations and continuing professional development delivered as standard. We hope that, together, we can speak in to vision and plans for the future of the Church that see our calling, our ministry activity as vital for the health of the church.
Wellbeing in Ministry. The best thing we can offer those we work with and the families, children and young people is a healthy "us". Not a perfect "us" (we so often feel under pressure to be better, don't we?) but a healthy us. This is about looking after our own mental and emotional and spiritual health. I think we can sometimes just put ourselves last and maybe think, "if I've got time, I'll take a break!" In fact, I don't know any salaried children's, youth or families ministers that "just work their hours" - some of you reading this who are part time are paid part time, but working full time!
Just one aspect of looking after yourself is maybe having a mentor. That is why we are making that a key feature of what we offer Associate Members, a FREE mentoring session each year. We hope that your churches might see the value of it and enable you have to that kind of input and support on a regular basis.
We would love you to join Paraklesis - check out how to do that on the Associate Membership or Church Membership pages.
This article is written by - Ali Campbell, a youth and children's ministry consultant - married to the lovely Lisa and with two incredible daughters. When not drinking coffee, hanging out with his family in their caravan or listening to jazz funk, he runs The Resource to encourage, equip and support those in ministry working with children, young people and families. Ali is the development consultant for Paraklesis.