INTERVIEW WITH THE PROF
14th July 2017
1) Cedrene, what was your motivation for becoming involved in children's ministry?
Cedrene: - My passion is children and their spirituality : how can Jesus be ‘alive’ and meaningful in their lives.
2) What are the specific challenges working in Scotland?
Cedrene: - Our church family is diverse in culture, but I have found the biggest challenge so far is that the majority of our churches struggle with integrating children into their services. Yes there is Sabbath School, children’s story time and specific children’s programmes, but church itself is still very much focused on adults with the children being moved to the background. Jesus’ approach was and is to include children not to segregate them.
3) What do you think you have brought to the role?
Cedrene: - I hope I have brought new experiences and ways/methods of interacting with the children of Scotland and also my fellow children’s Ministry leaders. I am not highly qualified for this role but I have years of teaching, caring and interacting with children where I have learned that each child is unique and learn in different ways - just like adults. But mostly I have learned that children respond when they feel loved for who they are and when you approach them at their level. That is why I introduced Prof Noodlebrain as my Children’s Ministry character. She allows me the freedom to explore a child’s world to find new and relevant ways of sharing God’s plan of salvation for them.
4) Professor Noodlebrain, in your opinion what are the secrets for communicating successfully with children?
Prof. Noodlebrain: - Keep it simple and to the point. Make it practical and relevant to them. Always keep eye contact and engage them in the conversation. Ask open ended questions and allow them to feel their contribution (whether small or big) is appreciated and accepted.
5) It's often said that children's minds are like sponges. How conscious are you of the responsibility of teaching children at such an impressionable age?
Prof. Noodlebrain: - Most definitely like sponges, but teaching Bible principles from the Bible itself and using everyday examples to make it relevant allows the children to make up their own minds about what they wish to believe so that nothing is forced on them.
6) What do you love most about interacting with the children?
Prof. Noodlebrain: - I love their honesty and unpredictability. You can prepare and plan so far in advance for what it is you wish to say and share but they can take it to a whole new level with their simplistic thinking.
7) How do you feel when you see a child you have taught grow into a fine young adult?
Prof. Noodlebrain: - Extreme joy and pride but not because of what I have done, but because of how relevant Jesus was and is for them.
8) How do you feel when you see a child you have taught go astray?
Prof. Noodlebrain: - Although I am not a parent myself, I see each child I come into contact with as my own. And just like any parent, I never give up on that child. Everyone needs somebody to encourage them when they need it.
9) What is your greatest reward in working in children's ministry?
Prof. Noodlebrain: - As yet I do not have an answer to this …the journey is still ongoing…but if I had to say it would be that at least one young person can experience Jesus’ love In their life that will allow them to feel accepted and valuable.
10) Where do you get your experiments from?!
Prof. Noodlebrain - Now that would be telling… a Prof. sometimes needs her secrets… but I am always reading and exploring!
11) Do they ever go wrong ;-)?
Prof. Noodlebrain: - Oh yes!!! but that makes it all the more exciting and proves sometimes by making mistakes the end result can demonstrate greater insights or truths, or be for the greater good.
13) Does Prof. Noodlebrain have an equation for successful children's ministry - e.g. "Jesus = Love”?
Prof. Noodlebrain: - If only it were that easy, but each child is different and what works for one child may not work for another. Be yourself, be honest and be approachable. Children need to know that they are valued for who they are not for what they do.
14) Cedrene, have you achieved what you hoped to achieve in the role of Children's Ministries Sponsor in Scotland? If not why do you think that is?
Cedrene: - Most definitely not… juggling a full time job, having 3 churches, and being Sponsor certainly does not allow a lot of available time. I have tried my best to be supportive in promoting 13th Sabbath programmes, local VBS programmes and providing training on running a successful Sabbath School, but I do feel there is a lot that still needs to be done.
15) What advice would you give for someone talking over the role in the future?
Cedrene: - If we can invest in our children and our local teachers and programmes, and not be afraid to think outside the box. Our churches need to understand that church is about EVERYONE being present and taking part. Children come to church along with their parents but if they do not find it relevant to them, when they are old enough to decide for themselves, they will find somewhere else that is. Church programmes should have a separate babysitting programme - but each program should be planned in such a way that the children are incorporated so that they too gain the benefits and rewards.
Cedrene Botha is Children's Ministries Sponsor for the Scottish Mission.