by Karen Ziel
This month I am happy to welcome Jenny Byxbee as our New Faith Leader. Jenny is the Director of Children's Ministry at Round Hill Community church, in Greenwich.
Path to Children’s Ministry
Jenny Byxbee and her family moved to Greenwich, CT, spring 2016, and were searching for a home church. Her daughters attended Greenwich Country Day School where she learned that the director of children’s ministry at Round Hill Community Church (www.roundhillcommunitychurch.org) was retiring. Jenny felt called to this position. She felt that her part-time position as manager of the Youth Services Bureau for the Town of Greenwich would help her in this role at Round Hill. She wanted to help provide a meaningful experience for the children attending the church.
Jenny is responsible for programming for children from birth to age 10. She plans the children’s message in worship, lessons for children’s worship that correspond to the church’s theme for the month, and family community events. Since she began her position in September, the church’s six families have grown to over 40. Her first project at the church was a survey for families to find out what they wanted for their children. Based on their responses, she includes age appropriate scripture, art, storytelling, drama, and movies in the lessons, with the goal of creating a meaningful faith forming experience for the children.
Skills Needed to be an Effective Children’s Ministry Leader
Jenny says the skills that have been most useful to her have been her volunteer coordination skills that she has developed from previous positions. Her facility with the digital world allows her to communicate effectively with millennial families who want immediate access to information. Jenny also thinks that being open and flexible is important.
Jenny finds “revamping” the children’s ministry program to accommodate the new families exciting but challenging. As the children arrive in worship, she assesses the group to decide how to create small groups given their ages. She also finds that building relationships with the families in the church takes time and needs to be balanced with her administrative tasks and the part-time nature of her position.
The most rewarding aspect of Jenny’s job is seeing the children’s excitement about the lesson. She enjoys seeing the kids running to children’s worship on Sunday morning.
Advice to and from Others
Jenny said that she was “too green” to be sharing advice with others, but she is grateful for these words of wisdom she received from the Rev. Dan Haugh, Associate Pastor at Round Hill. He told her to “get to know the families first.” Jenny feels that you need to have a heart for the job, enjoy developing relationships with the people in the church, and be on the journey with God yourself. “You can’t teach people to care about each other, if you don’t care for them yourself.”
Interview with Cindy Cole, Digital Missioner, CTUCC
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