They’re the 82-year-old interlocking blocks from Denmark that are loved the world over. LEGO a household name!
Six of the famous eight-studded LEGO bricks can connect in 915,103,765 ways, and Rev’d Mark Hawkes at St Mark’s Golden Grove has now used them to connect primary school aged children in his community to the church’s Thursday afternoon Kids Club.
The “Living Life with Lego” series ran from July to September this year, “One parishioner from our afternoon service had an idea for doing a Lego themed outreach service,” explained Rev’d Hawkes. “We jumped on board with that, and following much discussion and brainstorming, were able to run an entire term of Lego Kids Club, concluding with the Lego themed outreach service.”
“Lego is very popular with children of all ages. But we were blown away by God’s goodness to us in organising things behind the scenes that we hadn’t even asked for. A woman who joins us twice a year from England, arrived a month before Lego Kids Club started, with a large box of well over a thousand Lego trading Cards from Sainsbury’s. She didn’t know we were doing Lego Kids Club, and thought that perhaps they might be useful for something. The children at Kids Club loved them. God was clearly going ahead of us and blessing us in ways we hadn’t even thought of asking.”
Topics covered across the series included “Meet the Master Builder”, “Discover the Best LEGO Pieces”, “Build with Different Blocks”, “LEGO Lunacy”, and “God will never LEGO of you”.
“It was great to see new people join the Kids Club as children invited their friends. It was also wonderful to welcome some new families to our 4pm service as a result of the Lego theme.”
While the Lego-themed series proved to be a raging success, things were slow going early on for the fledgling Kids’ Club in the north-eastern community, “One of our parishioners really had it on her heart to coordinate and start an afternoon Kids’ Club, to help the children of St Mark’s connect with God, with each other, and also connect with people in the wider community. She pulled together a group of families and leaders and we launched the Kids’ Club with 10-13 kids at the start of 2016. The first year was quite challenging as the group remained small and even diminished as families either moved away or had other commitments. However, we persevered and started to see children inviting their friends. It has been exciting that numbers have since grown to over 25 regularly attending.”
“At St Mark’s, we firmly believe that all people of all ages can have a meaningful relationship with Jesus. We also believe that it’s important to communicate the good news about Jesus in a manner that people can understand. Thus, our ministry to children looks quite difference to our ministries to the middle-aged and to the elderly. Statistics show that the majority of people who follow Jesus, made a decision to do so before they were 18. Thus, we see the importance of being able to share and teach the gospel to young people in this area.”
“We’re also very mindful that children’s ministry is not simply entertaining children, but rather introducing them to God in an age appropriate manner. That is why children hear from God’s word at every session of Kids’ Club as they learn of all that God has done for them and how he longs to be a part of their lives. It is thrilling to see children from non-church families enjoying hearing about God’s love for them and taking it on board. It is also exciting when families start coming to church where they can grow even more in their relationship with God.”
‘Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures for ever.’ (Psalm 136:1)
“Although it is a massive understatement, God is indeed good, and we have experienced God’s goodness at St Mark’s in a number of different ways over the years.”
“When we arrived at St Mark’s, there were a number of friendly people who welcomed us very warmly. We found it easy to settle in to the area. But of course, while there was this lovely group of us who met together to worship God each week at St Mark’s, and many who gathered at other nearby churches, there were many more people in Golden Grove and beyond, who didn’t know God, didn’t know about salvation offered through Jesus, and were not connected to a church family. So that’s a challenge, to pray and work out how to connect with people beyond our church community, to bring people to church and the gospel to people.”
“We were also conscious that there were a number of factors that made it difficult for families with young children, and also for ministry growth in general. For example, one of these was the lack of a safe space for children to play after the service. This made it very difficult for parents of young children to have conversations with other adults after the service.”
“Several years ago, Parish Council decided to install a fenced area adjacent to the church building to give current (and any future families) a safe play area. Thanks to the forward thinking of some Parish Council members, the fenced area was made larger than initially required. We had been praying and hoping for a playground for a few years.”
“We were so grateful to God when a nearby school contacted us at the start of 2017 asking if we would like to have their existing playground (that they were replacing) at no charge! Having raised the funds to remove and install the playground, we are delighted to see that it fits perfectly within the fenced area. This has been well used by children at our Sunday services and at our Kids’ Club.”
“It has been really encouraging to see God’s faithfulness and kindness in providing so many blessings. It really reinforces that God uses the gifts and work of believers, who plant and water the seed of the gospel, but it is ultimately Him who makes it grow. God is able to provide so much more than we ask or imagine.”
“There are countless examples of times that God has provided us with things, and arranged things behind the scenes. These coincidences, or ‘God-incidences’, are encouraging reminders that God is growing His church here at Golden Grove. “
With continued growth across his church community, Mark has plenty more plans in the pipeline, as the Parish of St Mark’s Golden Grove wait in eager expectation for what the future holds.
“With the success of the Kids Club’, we have recognised that there will soon be a need to start a youth group to nurture the children in their relationship with God as they grow older. This will require leaders that we don’t currently have, and a space that we don’t have either! However, nothing is impossible for God, so we are praying about these things, and are looking forward to seeing how God will answer.”
“We also recognise that we really need a separate hall, to use for a variety of things - Sunday School, Youth Group, and other ministry events. We are doing some consulting, planning, and of course lots of praying, and are hoping that we will be able to have this space sooner rather than later.”
“God is good. And we depend on him completely, for sharing the good news about Jesus with people of all ages in our community, and for helping grow and mature the faith of everyone at St Mark’s.”