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August 5, 2020

A Note from Nikki Buskirk
Children’s Ministry Assistant

Dear friends,

“Maybe God made you a storyteller and a leader in Children’s Ministry in the church with a voice for just such a time as this.”

~Pastor April Blaine

Godly Play is near and dear to me.

Being a homeschool parent of a child with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), we use Montessori teaching throughout our day. So when Pastor April and Lindsay Robinson (Director of Children’s Ministry) invited me to tour a Montessori school that was using a version of Godly Play, of course I jumped on it.

I thought I’d go learn some incredible ideas that would help with my boy’s schooling, and give a few suggestions from the perspective of a parent and volunteer that would help our church move forward with the adoption of Godly Play in Children’s Ministry at Hilliard UMC.

When we left the school I WAS SHOOK! I still get goose bumps thinking of the experience those kids were receiving by being in a school like that. We were all energized and excited about the future of our children’s ministry and how sensational it would be for our kids.

I was a volunteer then, with kids participating in the program, and I told Pastor April and Lindsay that I wanted to be a part of this transformation; however I can, I want to be a part of this. After several books and training sessions, and many late night conversations, I became a Godly Play “storyteller.” (In Godly Play, kids explore their faith through story and props, with loosely-guided wonder and play to enhance their spiritual experience. Click HERE for more information from the Godly Play Foundation website.)

“Maybe God put you here for just such a time as this.”

Contrary to what you have seen of me lately, I’m not really one who thrives on being in front of people. I’d rather be the background person who helped whoever was in front succeed. There is usually great anxiety and a lot of inner prep talk before I am ready to speak to a crowd.

It doesn’t matter who that crowd is, I’m a walking ball of mess.

Even now, right before I tell a Godly Play story, I suggest to the kids that we should take several deep breaths so that we can be ready for the story. While those deep breaths help the children, they are more for me so that I can settle my nerves. (Want to connect your kid(s) with the awesome Sunday morning experience of Godly Play? Click HERE for details and the Zoom Meeting ID.)

Standing up and speaking out is no different for me. I feel it’s even scarier when you know there will be push back, possible confrontations, and dismissal.

I want a different world for my children. I want a world where all kids see themselves in God’s eyes, a world where we truly know the meaning of loving your neighbor. 

When I saw that post in the Godly Play Facebook group asking whether Godly Play is anti-racist (as mentioned in last Sunday’s sermon), I had to speak up, even though I knew I was the only recognizable person of color. The greatest changes in society start with our children, so why not start here.

Yes, there were a few who pushed back, who said, “What do you really know? Why are you trying to change something that isn’t broken?”

If no one ever points out a wrong, how will we ever know it was wrong? So I left my comments, engaged with those who truly wanted to learn, and went about life.

“Maybe God put you here for such a time as this.”

After a week or so and a forgotten comment, the Vice President of Godly Play messaged me. We then had a great conversation about my thoughts, and the uniqueness I have of being not just a storyteller, but a storyteller who is also a person of color.

We discussed the lack of people of color within the Godly Play community both on the board, as trainers, and as storytellers. She is currently discussing changes that need to be made immediately, and she has even invited me to help on future projects and conventions.

I called Pastor April in shock. Me — they want to hear from ME, I told her. I’m just Nikki from Hilliard who’s a mommy and a wife, who loves and believes in her church.

Pastor April said to me “First, you aren’t JUST Nikki. You are never JUST Nikki. On top of that, maybe God put you here for such a time as this.”

“Maybe God put you here for such a time as this.”

So, friends, as we do in Godly Play, I would love to wonder with you.

I wonder where you have felt God’s call?

I wonder if you feel the call to speak out for others?

I wonder how HUMC can help you be a voice for those in need?

I wonder if this Year of Courage has helped strengthen you in such a time as this?

Friends, I miss you. We will get through this. Stay safe, and hopefully we will see each other soon.


Nikki Buskirk, Children’s Ministry Assistant

Grace and courage,

Nikki Buskirk
Children’s Ministry Assistant

P.S. Want to connect your kid(s) with the awesome Sunday morning experience of Godly Play? Click HERE for details and the Zoom Meeting ID.

Want to receive these Letters of Encouragement in your inbox? Click HERE.


previous letters of encouragement

Click title for PDF.

July 29, 2020: Resilience and Courage (April Andrick, Director of Youth Ministry)

July 22, 2020: You. Are. Not. Alone. (Lindsay Robinson, Director of Children’s Ministry”

July 16, 2020: Being Present in the Moment (Pastor April Blaine)

July 8, 2020: An Invitation to the Hero’s Journey (Pastor April Blaine)