Prompted by a recent call to acknowledge our volunteers, I'm putting together a series that explores behind the scenes of our churches and ministries: the people that keep them running. We have a wealth of people with beautiful hearts that support the diocese, and I want to find out the heart behind what they do.
You'll find her in the Cobden Sharing Shed op shop, lending a hand to those in need. She's also involved in co-ordinating Operation Cover-Up, sending knitted items and other goods overseas. And if that wasn't enough, she even finds time to clean the church on a regular basis.
But perhaps Pauline's most notable ministry is the one she pours her heart and soul into every Sunday morning. She leads the kids' programme at church in Cobden, where she shares the good news of Jesus to the littlest members of the congregation.
“One child looks so much like his dad did at his age that I often call him by his dad's name,” she told me. “When I apologise, he always replies ‘That’s alright, Pauline.’”
She loves the sense of fun and creativity that children have, and enjoys seeing their relationships with God mature and develop. Their simple faith inspires her, and preparing lessons for them gives her a deeper understanding of the Bible.
After four decades of sharing the gospel with children, Pauline sometimes bumps into grateful adults who recognise her.
While in hospital a few years ago, an orderly recognised her from the Bible in Schools programme that she taught in Cobden when he was a kid. He remembered the “golden rule” from Matthew 7: "Do to others what you would have them do to you," as well as some of the songs that Pauline taught him.
Another time, Pauline was teaching the story of Easter at Cobden School when the principal unexpectedly observed her lesson. She was nervous, wondering what she would think of someone teaching little kids about a man dying on a cross. To her surprise, the principal praised her efforts and said, "Pauline, while I'm principal, Bible in Schools remains." Since then, the principal has invited Pauline and Reverend Tim Mora to pray for various issues. Today, it’s the only school in the area with Bible in Schools (or Launchpad, as it is called now), and the relationship between the school and the church remains strong.
It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, of course – and not just because it’s the West Coast. With church attendance ever declining, fewer kids are hearing about Jesus. Pauline noticed a stark decline particularly after the pandemic. The virus that spread across the world caused great division among people, and many left church behind.
Pauline knows that people who hear the gospel message as children are much more likely to embrace it as adults.
People like Pauline are the reason many of us know Jesus today. She wants to invite people throughout the diocese to pray about getting involved in children’s ministry as well.
“God appreciates our availability more than our ability. We can be used to sow seeds that last for eternity.”
Check out other articles in the
More articles in the
series are to come.
We have invited these writers to share their experiences, ideas and opinions in the hope that these will provoke thought, challenge you to go deeper and inspire you to put your faith into action. These articles should not be taken as the official view of the Nelson Diocese on any particular matter.