“Do what you love. Love what you do”, a few years ago I was given a lovely cushion with this phrase written on it and I am fortunate enough to say that this is exactly the case for me in my work.
2019 has so far been a brilliant year for the youth group. The XLR8 group have battled it out in ‘Broadmead Youth Come Dine with Me’ where in pairs they made a meal for the rest of the group and were rated on their food, entertainment and hosting abilities. Congratulations to Sam and Amy who were the winners!
We have also visited Soul Survivor church in Watford. Soul Survivor offers brilliant opportunities for young people from across the UK (and often further) to come to their Saturday celebrations where there is worship, a talk and prayer time… a brilliant opportunity for our young people to connect with other young Christians and build on their faith. Of course, these trips require a McDonald’s stop too to make it a ‘proper’ youth event!
A few weekends ago we took a group of 24 of us to a centre in Hemel Hempstead for a weekend away. The weekend away was full of activities such as sports, wide games, silly ice breaker style games, campfire singing and toasting marshmallows, climbing and caving. As well as activities we also ran our own sessions throughout the weekend focussing on deepening our relationship with God. As part of this, we focussed on the parable of the prodigal son. “‘My son’, the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found’” (Luke 15:31-32). I firmly believe that over this weekend young people opened their hearts afresh to Jesus again, as well as having young people coming to faith for the first time. It was an extremely spirit-filled time where it felt that many were coming home to their heavenly father, knowing that their identity was in Christ alone and having peace and joy in that.
I can’t lie to you, I came away from the weekend away absolutely physically exhausted! I was welcomed by one child after the PM service on the Sunday we came back, asking why I had shadows under my eyes. The only response I could muster was… “I am very tired!”. Having said that, I was over the moon at how successful the weekend was that I actually had so much more enthusiasm and energy than I left with. We are so very blessed in this church to have such a wonderful group of young people and it is exciting to see them grow into who God created them to be.
Storylines continues to grow and run successfully with youth and children both bringing along friends from school who have fully got involved with the group. This is a brilliant taster of ‘church’ and is why this type of thing is so important for encountering faith.
Looking forward we have plenty coming up for young people. We have our own summer programme of events including a circus skills workshop at the park, a walk around Stanwick lakes, sports at the park, an evening at heavenly desserts and plenty more. We are praying that young people feel able to invite their friends to these events and have also invited other church youth groups to join us from across the town in the hope of building up those local networks.
Finally, we’re thrilled to be launching/relaunching a few different projects in the new academic year. TMX Youth Club will be starting again in September. We hope to attract those from the community into the church building, offering crafts, sports and other games and activities. Recently I have bumped into several ‘ex’ TMXers who are extremely excited to come back to youth club, as well as a few older ones being keen on coming back as leaders. The team cannot wait to get back to seeing these young people regularly, impacting positively in their lives. TMX has been a safe, nurturing, supportive and welcoming place to many young people with challenging backgrounds and we pray this will continue to be the case in the future.
The other project we’re starting is a ROC Café. ROC (Redeeming Our Communities) is a UK based initiative where people of ‘goodwill’ are called to come together to make a positive change in their local community. I am a part of the youth action group and we have decided that we will be hosting a café style hub for young people, year 10-13. This space will allow chilled out areas where young people can play card and board games as well as offering academic support and a place to focus on study after school.
As you can see we have plenty as a youth team to keep us busy! I am extremely thankful for the leaders to continue to faithfully serve the groups on Sundays as well as those who support weekends away, socials and TMX. If you would like to hear more about what we get up to or would like to join our team, please come and see me.