School’s ministry, discipleship, and the Journey to the Stable

21st September 2023

Emma Sargeant, Growing Younger Adviser in the Mission Support team at CofE Birmingham, has developed Discipleship Pathway resources on how to engage with children, young people, and families, as part of a project funded by the Church Commissioners. 

These resources encourage Schools Ministry volunteers to be intentional in inviting the children and their families to the next event in the church.  This approach has proved fruitful in Shirley Parish, who regularly signpost the next place that people can continue to explore their faith.

Sarah Penfold is a Reader, who co-ordinates the parish’s work with schools, and tells two inspiring stories showing how intentional invitations have worked in their parish:

“One mum and child came to our Toddler Group, and then were invited and subsequently came to Messy Church.  Over time, we built a relationship as they came to church, and then the mum took the step to be confirmed, which is a special church service in which they confirmed the promises that they made to God when they were first baptised."

"Also, we have a family whose journey with us started when their child came to our Christmas ‘Journey to the Stable’ event with their school in November.  The child took home an invitation card for the annual Christmas Tree Festival and asked his family to go it to look at the Christmas tree decorated by his school.”

Every year, Sarah Penfold and the school’s ministry volunteers invite the twelve local schools with year 1 pupils to engage with the Christmas story being acted out and then visit stations where parts of the story are unpacked together. 

Revd Paul Day, Vicar of Shirley, added, “It’s been wonderful to see these discipleship journeys unfold.  Having a faithful community presence and inviting our local schools to engage with our events at Christmas, Easter, Harvest at church, and taking part in Open the book, has been key in building relationships with our local schools.”

If you would like to find out more about the Discipleship Pathways resources or discuss local Schools Ministry, please email Emma Sargeant at:

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