Does your child/nephew/niece/grandchild think they’re special, amazing, unique?
Do they truly know their worth?
Wherein does their IDENTITY lie?
Meet Lynette Snyman. This South African has made it her mission to positively impact the lives of as many children as possible. And testimonies like this one are irrefutable proof that she’s accomplishing her goal:
One children’s pastor from a church using the syllabus Lynette created forwarded a voice note from a parent about how a lesson had impacted her family. The lesson was about how God has made each of us in an amazing and wonderful way, and that He has great plans for our life. Each child was given a mirror and they had to decorate it with stickers, and write I AM AMAZING on the bottom. This pastor gave each child a mirror to give away to someone else.
The voice note from the mom said: ‘My younger daughter gave the mirror to her friend during school. She told me that at aftercare her friend kept taking the mirror out of her bag and saying over and over: “I am amazing.” She said she could see the excitement in her eyes.’ The mom went on to say: ‘This material that you have sourced carries so much power and it’s so amazing to see the children doing what they have learnt at children’s church.’
Want to know more? Read on…
Lynette, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a Year 1-3 teacher.
Did you realise that dream?
Yes. However, after teaching for six years, I became restless. So I prayed and asked God what to do. I was at a real crossroads. I asked Him to send someone to offer me a job in the next ten days. A few days later my pastor asked me to come and ‘sort out the children’s ministry’. I nearly fainted!
I love how God answered your specific prayer! And you’ve been in children’s ministry ever since. Tell us about your work.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been teaching children for more than 20 years about Father God who loves them. At my church, where I’m a children’s pastor, we provide a place for 3- to 13-year-olds to encounter Jesus and experience His love and presence.
Part of my role as a children’s pastor is to source appropriate material to use in our children’s church. Because we live in South Africa, buying anything from the UK or USA is very expensive; and often, especially with the USA material, it has to be rewritten because our culture is very different. A few years ago I decided to write my own syllabus — without the help of Google. I wanted to make sure that it was all my own work, because I knew that I had to make it as a resource for not only my church but other churches too, across the world.
What was your LIGHTBULB moment?
Over the last 15 years I have had several prophetic words about writing material. So I knew it was in the pipeline. There are so many great, free children’s ministry resources available, but most of them teach children about God. Very few enable and encourage children to have a relationship with God.
I was looking for material that taught children about how God speaks to us, and then made listening to Him part of the lesson. I also wanted something that would work in a South African context, with a South African budget, and internationally. I remembered all the prophetic words and, encouraged and supported by my husband and son, decided to write my own.
How did you know this was your calling, part of your purpose?
Besides all the prophetic words that I’d had over the years about writing, it is something that I enjoy, and it comes relatively easily to me.
How did you make the time in your busy schedule to create and write your unique, inspired syllabus?
The best thing I did was set aside one morning a week for writing. I would sit down after spending time with God and tackle whatever lessons I had to write for that day. I wasn’t allowed to pack up for the day until I had written my allotted number of lessons. When I got stuck, I prayed. And Holy Spirit always gave me ideas of what to write.
How do you promote your syllabus?
On my Living Clay website, which my very talented son built for me. I also promote it at conferences and workshops that a friend and I host. And some people hear about it from others and contact me.
Currently, my syllabus is being used by churches in South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.
Any journey highlights you’d like to share?
It’s been very humbling to get personal messages and photos from churches who are using my material, saying what a huge impact it is having on their children’s church. To think that something that I have written, with huge help from Holy Spirit, is having an impact not only in our church, but in several other churches, is very surreal.
One of the reviews on my website — a pastor’s recommendation — mentions that ‘kids with attention difficulties have engaged beautifully in this too‘.
Another children’s pastor told me about how initially the children struggled to write in their journals during ‘God Time’ (sitting quietly in God’s presence, listening to Him). One of the children didn’t want to participate at all, so she sat beside him and asked him how he was feeling and whether she could pray with him. After that, he wrote practically an entire page in his journal.
I was at a church recently where I was introduced as the lady who wrote all their lessons, and the children clapped for me. It was very sweet. I explained to the children that I didn’t write it alone — Holy Spirit helped me. I prayed before I planned each lesson set, and before I wrote each lesson. Whenever I got stuck I would say: ‘Holy Spirit, we need an idea here’, and soon enough an idea would pop into my head.
Were there particular moments when you had to take huge steps of faith?
Around the time I started writing the syllabus, another children’s pastor started inviting me to speak at workshops and conferences with her. That really was a huge step of faith for me. Now we plan and run the workshops and conferences together. Working with her has taught me how to jump out of the boat and walk on the water… and keep focussing on Jesus!
My current huge step of faith is trusting God to give me more opportunities to mentor and train others in the area of Children’s ministry. I feel that I have a wealth of experience and I would like to walk alongside and help others who are starting out or feeling a little stuck or overwhelmed. It is a difficult ministry to be in, as often you have to give up attending church with the rest of your family to do it. It can feel very lonely and isolating.
Steepest learning curve?
Let’s just say that there were some very stressful moments when my husband was trying to teach me new computer skills . . . However, my computer skills dramatically increased, so I’m grateful!
My current learning curve is how to market and sell my material. I have no business training, so I am having to figure things out as I go. It’s been really difficult ‘putting myself out there’ and promoting my syllabus. Charging people for my work doesn’t come naturally to me, although I understand that people put more value to something that they have paid for, and to create a good product costs money, because you need to pay for editing and illustrations, etcetera.
Any pearls of wisdom you’d like to share for those who aspire to make a difference or feel called to ministry?
Chat to people who are already doing what you’d like to do. Ask for help or direction when you need it. Pray and spend time with God to get His direction. Do whatever God gives you to do, even if it isn’t exactly what you had in mind to do. You never know what one thing will lead to.
Also, don’t try to be someone else. God has made you you, with your specific gifting and skill set, and even your wacky personality and traits. Work with what you’ve got, not what you wish you had.
As well as being a children’s pastor, syllabus creator/writer, wife, mother, conference and workshop speaker (do you sleep??) — I understand you volunteer with another pretty special ministry?
For the last ten years I have been fortunate enough to be part of a non-profit organisation called I am Special. It is staffed by volunteers who go into schools and tell children that Jesus loves them, and that God has a plan for their lives. We each have a specific school that we visit. Every Monday morning I spend 30 minutes in each of the six Grade 3 classes, and teach them about Jesus.
Many of the children at the school are from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s always so rewarding when the children are excited to see me and greet me with huge enthusiasm. I say: ‘Good morning, children’, and they reply with: ‘Good morning, I am Special’. The great thing about the name of the programme is that they are speaking the fact that they are special over themselves every time they say the name.
Moments that have ‘made your day’?
I got a voice note from a mom whose children come to our children’s church. She wanted to know which songs we did at church the previous Sunday, because her three-year-old son keeps singing this one song, and she doesn’t recognise it. After several messages back and forth, we finally found the right one. It’s good to know that what we do on a Sunday doesn’t stay at church, but goes home with the children.
One of my highlights is spending time with my ‘children’ when they are all grown up. Many of the children I ministered to when I first started are adults now, and some have started families of their own. I’m still ‘Aunty Lynette’ to them, and I feel honoured that they still want to connect with me.
Lynette, you are a dollop of pure sunshine and I’m honoured to know you and call you my good friend. May God continue to bless you mightily in this powerful work you do.
For anyone interested in Lynette’s amazing syllabus for children’s church, there’s a 3 for 2 SPECIAL on her Living Clay website — only until the end of November!
Work with what you’ve got, not what you wish you had.
Pursue your passion, follow your heart.
You are unique, special, amazing!
Just so you know…
I don’t receive any reward or commission for promoting any of the people or businesses on my blog. I just want to inspire & motivate as many people as possible to fulfil their purpose & potential.
If any other key points stood out for you, or you just want to let me know what you thought about this interview, feel free to comment below.