Mitzy Camilowith Mitzy Camilo, Children’s Ministry Leader at Mile End Community Church

Learning and analysing Phillip Hughes’ findings (from Christian Research Australia) that every year in Australia 50,000 young people are leaving the Christian faith and deciding they have no religion got Mitzy Camilo, Children’s Ministries Leader at Mile End Church thinking.  She asked, “What is it that we are doing wrong as a church? How can we avoid having our youth leave the church? Going through ‘Lost in Transition’ by David Goodwin during Sticky Faith and learning his explanation of what’s happening in greater detail has really opened her eyes.

Mitzy attended and participated in Sticky Faith, the Annual Children’s Ministries Training Weekend held on 14-16 February at the Greater Sydney Conference Office.  She shared her experience from the event and her thoughts on her role as Children’s Ministry Leader.

What is Sticky Faith?

The Annual Children’s Ministries Training Weekend was held on the 14th to 16th of February at the GS Conference Office.

The conference started on Friday, where attendees heard Terry Williams, one of Australia’s leading Children’s Ministries Specialists, share his knowledge and latest research on discipling strategies to retain our children and youth in church. On Saturday, the group joined Kids Reach and concluded on Sunday with a variety of very informative workshops.

It was a fantastic weekend where we got to meet passionate children’s leaders, learn together and share our experiences when ministering to children and their families.

How will you use Sticky Faith in your life?

First of all, I see myself using it with my family at home. Strengthening our faith and the faith of our two boys by sharing verbally our own faith journeys, teaching them who to turn to when they have doubts, making connections with caring adults, addressing everyday issues from a Biblical point of view and helping people around us who are in need. 

I would like to help and equip other families from our community to grow their faith together. Give these families opportunities to contribute and participate in church. Continue having Intergenerational opportunities, where adults can learn from children and children from adults. And provide multi sensory moments where individual children connect with Jesus for themselves.

Why is children’s ministry important to you?

I love seeing children involved in all kinds of service areas within the church, I love seeing them grow spiritually as well as physically. I value what each child contributes to our community knowing there is so much to learn from them.

I enjoy leading Children’s Ministries, I enjoy providing opportunities for these young lives to learn and experience how much God loves them. I absolutely love seeing how sincere children are and how they spontaneously worship God. But one of the best things to witness is to see how caring and loving children are to those in the community and beyond.

Working with children may be not easy, but it is very rewarding. We have all been commissioned to go and make disciples and I believe my calling is to provide opportunities and resources for families to disciple not only their own children but all those who come to Mile End. 

What workshops were held during Sticky Faith?

There were six informative workshops.

  1. Making Gracelink work – We looked at a variety of ways we can program and present Sabbath School lessons to children in an active way following our grace link curriculum. We shared resources available and where to go when in need of help. Presented by Mitzy Camilo.
  2. Sticky Faith Factors  – Research has shown that 50,000 young people are leaving the Christian faith each year and deciding that they have ‘no religion.’ That’s 1,000 young people a week! This workshop provided a brief overview of some of the responses to this worrying trend.  In particular, we reviewed the six key strategies outlined in the book ‘Sticky Faith’ by Dr. Kara E. Powell & Dr. Chap Clark. Presented by Pr Craig Vanas.
  3. The Essential Elements – A faith that stays with God and the church – requires that the Church , Home and School collaborate on ensuring children and teens receive the essential experiences that will build this faith. It also requires that all departments of the church work together.  Presented by Julie Weslake
  4. Memory Events & VBS – Discussed the impact that Memory events at home and church had on our Children’s spiritual growth and then unpacked the latest VBS resources that provides one example of an awesome memory event in our children’s lives. Presented by Pr Daron Pratt.
  5. Family Worship Ideas – Great ideas for families to worship together. Presented by Katherine Darroch
  6. Creating Safe Places – Was about sharing with leaders the processes and procedures we have to keep children safe in church and equipping them to use these in their local church Presented by Suzanne Hadfield

What was your biggest takeaway from Sticky Faith?

Shaping children’s faith is a combined effort between home, church and school. We give lots of INFORMATION to families and children through programs but this is not enough to shape children’s faith. We need to intentionally add experiences that focus on FORMATION so that faith goes deeper. The result, as Terry explained, will be TRANSFORMATION.

There are 7 essential experiences, as proven from research, that will impact children’s faith. These are: Service and Mission; Homes Empowered; Authentic Relationships; Participation in Community; Intergenerational Connections; Noteworthy Memory Events and God Encounters. This is what I would like to share and work towards with our church leaders.

Helpful Resources for Children’s Ministry Leaders