Equipping + energising parents and carers
‘We’re part of an amazing family of believers’ image

‘We’re part of an amazing family of believers’

An encouraging story from Gemma.

*This article is part of our ‘Tell us your story’ series. We’d love to hear your story too! Head to this page to find out more.*

How did you become a Christian?

I became a Christian through hearing the gospel clearly explained at youth group and learning to read the Bible as one big story that points to Jesus. It happened in many ways and at different times in my childhood and young adulthood, but the journey led me to confessing Christ at my confirmation in the Anglican Church when I was about 19.

Which church are you part of? How are children and youth encouraged there?

I'm a part of the amazing family of believers at Jamberoo Anglican Church. I'm really proud to say that our church encourages children and youth deeply in every aspect of our gathering and at various times across the week. We value intergenerational ministry, which means that we are really focused on the ‘one-another-ness’ of being together and learning from one another. Our services have all ages and stages serving one another; we spend the first half an hour together before our kids go out to be taught in an age-appropriate way. We have a team of devoted leaders who teach our kids the same passage that the adults are hearing each week.

One of the most encouraging aspects of our intergenerational ‘vibe’ at Jamberoo is how we gather after church. We always enjoy a sit-down meal with our church family and ‘chew’ on a question about the week’s Bible passage. And we do this in table groups that are a natural cross-section of the ages in our church. When I scan the room for my kids, I usually find them chatting with other adults, youth and older people as they build their own relationships with their church family. The value of this for our family has been immense. Our kids have developed relationships with people they look up to; at the same time, they have the opportunity to be a role model for someone younger too. Their faith is being developed by the village of our church each weekend—not just by us in our home—as they build real relationships and spend time discussing what they are learning about Jesus and the Bible.

Furthermore, the youth and children's ministry leaders of our church see this intergenerational connection as one of their primary aims. Most Saturday nights after church I find myself watching a very intense, but joyful, handball tournament play out amongst a large gathering of leaders, youth, kids and parents! It's so much fun—our kids are learning how to be part of a team and to play fairly with a bunch of people who are invested in their growth.

What are some ways you seek to pass your Christian faith and values on to your children?

As I grow older, the more I see the need for my own personal godliness to grow and permeate all of life. It's not enough to go to church, read my Bible and pray without also making time and space for that pattern to permeate our whole family's routine as well. I've been particularly encouraged to ‘work smarter, not harder’ to pass on my faith in lots of little moments, not just big events. We aim to read God's word and pray together after dinner most nights. We've reinvented how we do it more times than I can count, and we don't plan on stopping! The ‘how’ keeps changing, but not the word we read.

I also make the most of times in the car to ask big, searching questions—and so do my kids! We also pray together each morning in the car on the way to school. Doing little things often makes all of life a great time to be learning about God and his ways. Whether it's singing a Colin Buchanan memory verse with my toddler or reading a Christian book one-to-one with one of our big kids at night, we are seeking to capture every moment we can to speak about Jesus.

Is there a Bible verse or story that has encouraged you in your parenting?

‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.’ (Proverbs 3:5–6)

We had this read at our wedding and it has continued to point us in the right direction, especially when we are tempted to look for worldly wisdom about how to raise our children.

Do you have a favourite Youthworks Media resource? How has it helped you or others around you?

I have lots!! In terms of our children, we have really enjoyed reading books like Fiz the Flying Fox and The Mighty Mighty King over and over again to wonder at the way God loves and cares for us and has shown us that love in Jesus.

Is there anything else you'd like to say to encourage other Christian families?

I'd love to encourage others to think outside the box with regards to making connections at church. Some of the people who’ve had the most significant impact on our children's faith have not been other parents or their kids, but rather a whole range of people who are faithful and kind and willing to engage with our kids where they are at—be they single, married, with kids, without, elderly or young. So invest in relationships with these people in your church family so that when your children want to seek advice or guidance on something in the future, particularly the teen years, they will have a whole bunch of faithful people that they can go to.

Not only that—you can glean encouragement and fresh perspectives from people in other life stages so that you will be learning and growing in the same way your kids are! We need to gather regularly and encourage each other often, and all the more as we see the last day approaching!

*This article is part of our ‘Tell us your story’ series. We’d love to hear your story too! Head to this page to find out more.*

Gemma Bartlett is married to Matt and they have three children. Together they have a passion for intergenerational ministry. Gemma works part-time as the Mothers’ Minister at Jamberoo Anglican Church, south of Wollongong. 


Fiz the Flying Fox

A colourful and artistic children's book about Fiz - the flying fox who loves adventure! With beautiful water colours and a story we can all relate to, this is a wonderful book for preschool aged children, and reminds us that our heavenly Father is always watching over us.

Buy it from Youthworks Media

For more articles from Growing Faith, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.
To hear about the latest books and resources from Youthworks Media, subscribe here.

Share this Post:

Related Posts: