Ministry to Children
Sonja Eckert — United States
Nestled in Millersville, Pennsylvania, where you learn to appreciate the strong, pungent countryside smells. I admit I have never left the United States. I have never flown. The little bit of traveling I have managed to enjoy in my 30 years has been wonderful.
I grew up in Lancaster city, an area where it was tough living. Parents struggled to make ends meet, struggled to maintain a marriage. Both were raised Catholic, and by nature, they did their best to raise their children the same. I came to know the Lord through my family; parents, of course, my grandmother and my school, Sacred Heart.
My ministry dream is to raise our children to be disciples of the Lord. To welcome, embrace and nurture them on their spiritual journey. To love and be loved as good people on this Earth. And to never stop being grateful. This course has been a boost of encouragement. It has helped me commit to my calling as a children’s minister. I like to call myself a “late bloomer.” I started in this ministry because it was a paying job. The longer I stayed, the deeper this passion grew. The times I felt scared and wanted to end my position, something guided me, and with a sense of calmness, I knew I would be okay and that there was something more waiting for me. I have been involved with the Church for over five years now. I have been promoted to a position created for me. I have hopes and dreams and support.
I am a Children’s minister, or as my title states, Elementary Coordinator. I originally was the Nursery Coordinator at Wayside Presbyterian, working alongside a Director of Christian Formation and Youth Coordinator. Due to the resignation, the church felt it was easier to relieve one title and create a new one. Member of the congregation and volunteers who worked with me in the Nursery recommended me for the new position.
Challenges I currently face are school-aged children and extracurricular activities. Trying to find a balance without the parents in regards to the lack of involvement in programming held specifically for the children. I blame no one; it is a part of life, growth. I make sure to keep lines of communication open, so no opportunity is missed.
Connecting to the Bible became a personal affair. Aside from my job and calling at Wayside, the Bible along with online groups of mothers with special needs children became another close friend in my life. A boost of encouragement, a fresh perspective, a reason to be grateful. The Bible grounds me, but also allows me to connect with others spiritually.
My son is the one who inspired me and ultimately made me realize I had to stay; I had to pursue this ministry, I had to accept my calling. I did not know this calling was there. I often struggled for the first three years, whether or not I was good enough for this role. I often wondered “who am I.” That question turned into “this is who I am.” And once that notion made sense, God showed me the way. I have made adaptations for him within the church, so he is more comfortable. This effort was recognized by the entire congregation as well as other parents with kids who need the support as well. I have also brought his two siblings into this church. Each child of mine has been welcomed and accepted into a community that is loving and supportive.
A scholarship at CLI would allow me to further my learning in Christian Education and become a better representation of myself in Children’s Ministry. I ask that you pray for my ministry at Wayside, that we continue to grow strong in faith and friendship together.