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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary



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The Church and Boys

Friday 14th February 2020

If Boys Don’t Have Men to look Up to they won’t be in Church! That was just one of the key messages explored at the Church and Boys event last Saturday in Assembly Buildings, the home of the Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland.  The Boys’ Brigade partnered with The Presbyterian Church to deliver this event featuring author Nick Harding and his book ‘The Church and Boys – Making the Connection’.

Author Nick Harding, a former BB Leader himself, gave many insights into how boys think, how to engage with them in a different way to girls and how to harness their creativity, energy and thinking in Christian youth work. 

BB’s David Penney, Training and Programme Officer for The Boys’ Brigade Northern Ireland, also spoke at the conference:

“It is important that churches have male role models who engage with youth and children’s activities, so our boys see them in the front line of our congregations.

“This can present significant challenges, and it is not just about having men working in the background jobs, or in leadership roles, but releasing them into children’s ministry so that boys will see these role models at a young age. The Boys’ Brigade provides that opportunity,” he said.

“There is no doubt that cultural change in churches is often very slow and can be challenging, especially thinking about mission and ministry to boys in ways that have never been thought before. But it will be worth it.”

Ruth Bromley, PCI’s Children’s Development Officer, explained, the idea for the conference came out of some of the issues identified in a children’s ministry consultation earlier this year. Ruth said:

‘As a children’s leader in my own congregation, I had just finished planning for Sunday around a theme of prayer, when I began reading Nick’s book and it changed the way that I approached that particular Sunday’s activities.

‘As I thought again about the morning that I had planned, it dawned on me that I had skewed it to towards girls, and if I am honest, much of our children’s ministry activity is as well. As a result, I reworked the activities that I had planned.’

Keynote speaker at the event, Nick Harding, is an author and broadcaster and the father of two grown up sons. He lives in Nottinghamshire, with his wife Clare, where he is a lay leader of two churches. Until recently, he worked for the Church of England Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham supporting children and family work in over 300 churches. Here he advised and mentored church-employed workers, helped churches develop vision and strategy, and trained and advised on safeguarding. Much of his work over the last two decades has been working closely with those who are volunteers and employed workers with children and families in churches.

Nick Harding’s book ‘The Church and Boys – Making the Connection’ is available to purchase from Amazon and The Bible Reading Fellowship priced £8.99

Ruth Bromley, Ruth Bromley, PCI Children's Development Officer, Nick Harding author of the Church and Boys and David Penney NID Programme and Training Officer pictured at The Church and Boys event held in Assembly Buildings Belfast.on Saturday 8 February 2020.

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