Donna Reid ends her role as Assistant Pastor at Papanui Baptist Church at the end of March.  I interviewed her a few days ago and was impressed with her commitment and vision for serving God especially among the young, our future. Donna’s first ministry role in a church was as a voluntary youth leader. She began this in her mid-teens and included leading the Senior youth group at St Tim’s in Bishopdale from 1986 to 1990.

Coming to Papanui Baptist after this, she quickly got involved in children’s work with a primary focus on giving children a voice in church, probably her number one passion: “Children don’t have a voice unless we give them a voice… Where do the kids fit in all this….How can they be part of the whole?”  Donna was Children’s Pastor here for 8 years.

Later the opportunity came to take on the role of Children’s Ministry Coach for Canterbury –Westland, working with churches to help them broaden their inclusion of children e.g. the timing of communion to enable children to participate. “How do we do whole family ministry well?”  Donna has found it very satisfying being the link person between the national coordinator and local children’s ministries leaders and in some cases between senior pastors and Children’s Ministry leaders.   Donna will be continuing with this Ministry.

A highlight or two? Look no further than Ben Sapsford one of our youth leaders, who Donna saw grow up through Kids’ Church at Pap Bap and identified as having potential early on, giving him opportunities to lead along the way.  Another highlight, under a different hat, has been the behind-the-scenes services’ coordinator role and the satisfaction of seeing diverse elements come together well and people coming “into the courts of God.”

 Donna has also practised what she’s preached within her own family, with her children – voluntarily, she assures us – getting involved alongside Mum.  “It has become the norm for them to serve….I’m serving God when I’m serving others”.  Opportunities to serve, she says, are a key component of retaining young adults in our churches, even the seemingly mundane task of serving morning tea, valued by younger ones as an opportunity to actually talk face to face with the more seasoned travellers in the congregation; the mutual acknowledgement counts.

For the future, Donna sees the most important factor in growing a healthy church is for older people to keep in focus the involvement of younger ones in the context of the own families and the church family.  This would include “being tolerant of a little noise!”

 In addition, she emphasises the importance of a mixed staff team so all areas of Body life are kept in mind.

Her parting shot: “Keep talking, listening to and learning from each other.”

Thank you Donna for 11 years of dedicated service to Pap Bap

Philip McFedries