Australian students need biblical principles more than ever. In a time when Special Religious Education (SRE) experiences regular public speculation and many Australian students know “Jesus Christ” more as a swear word, the Baptist Association NSW/ACT is faithfully redeveloping one of the most popular and nationally-approved SRE resources in Australia: ‘GodSpace‘.
GodSpace, which is developed by us here at the Baptist Association, has been running for over 20 years in various forms and is currently operating in approximately 2,500 schools nationally. However, the things that were innovative and terrific when GodSpace was first created, aren’t so much now – considering how much language and style has changed over the years! A new GodSpace is required for a new era of ministry among primary children in Australian schools. After careful review in 2020, the GodSpace resources were determined to need significant redevelopment to make them more compelling for emerging generations who are using digital resources more and more in their everyday education along with the need to keep up with modern teaching standards and curriculum expectations.
We’re making big improvements to the way GodSpace looks, the content, the curriculum and the activities. With plans to add videos, create new graphics and artwork, provide a new design and layout, plus refresh the curriculum. In addition, we want to produce online training videos to help our wonderful GodSpace teachers continue to improve their knowledge and skills.
Steve Bartlett (NSW/ACT Baptist Director of Ministries) recently reflected: “GodSpace’s aim remains to help Australian students question, explore and discover the basics of the Christian faith as part of their education and personal development.”
To ensure SRE teachers and their students can access the highest quality and biblically-relevant resources, the Baptist Association is seeking to raise a faith-stretching goal of $1,000,000.00 to create a compelling suite of materials under the GodSpace banner. These resources include:
· Updated teacher manuals
· New teacher training videos and events
· New website
· New in-class videos and animations
· Updated activities, songs and music
· Updated monthly e-news
Heidi Tak, who has overseen the GodSpace redevelopment project, said: “We believe our curious children deserve the best resources, and our committed teachers deserve the best support.”
Teachers play such a critical role in ensuring classes are taught sensitively and in an age-appropriate way, which is why so much consideration has gone into upgrading the teacher support resources. Teachers have begun testing the new resources, and one shared: “I trialled the new GodSpace lessons just before Easter with some Year 3 and 4 students. We started by sharing about eggs and rabbits and the students had no trouble explaining why Easter Sunday and Monday had those names, but they struggled to say what was good about ‘Good Friday’. We quickly revised previous lessons about God creating people for deep friendship and where the Bible says, when Jesus died, he made it possible for us and for every other person who has ever lived to be friends with God. ‘So now do you know why it’s called Good Friday?’ I asked. So many hands went up! I didn’t have to tell them. They got it!”
Many churches from most major denominations have enjoyed using GodSpace in their SRE lessons within local schools and can be assured a team of theologically-qualified education specialists have been at the helm of rewriting the updated curriculum.
Primarily, the changes and improvements to GodSpace are to provide a better experience for primary-aged children. After three challenging years, one student of GodSpace recently said to his teacher (who had been patiently and prayerfully teaching him): ‘I didn’t think I believed in God, but you know what? It all makes sense!’ Helping young people make sense of faith is what GodSpace is all about. That is why big improvements are underway to the way it looks, the content, the curriculum and the activities.
We believe the new GodSpace resources will be high-quality, biblically-relevant and easily accessible. But to make the much-needed improvements to the materials and expand their reach into new schools, we need to raise significant additional funds. The aim is to raise $150,000 before the end of June and as a Church committed to local mission, we’re inviting your congregation to join with others to help achieve this goal. We know many of you believe in the impact of GodSpace. So if you’d like to contribute to the redevelopment appeal, please click here.
· A $500 gift will help redesign the new teachers’ manuals
· A $750 gift will help us create new exercises and artwork
· A $1,000 gift will help us produce new videos and animations
Your support by 30 June will be matched dollar-for-dollar thanks to a generous supporter (up to $75,000) and all donations, however large, are tax-deductible.
Thank you. Together, let’s help more young people make sense of God and his word through a new and improved GodSpace!