I have been involved with youth work at Holland Road for 4 years now; the time has flown by and the journey to where I am now, leading Youth Thursdays, has been awesome and full of surprises. Often it is said that the young people are the future of the church; they are not. Christ is the future of the church, but what are young people are, is the future church. So young people are deeply important, in that they are the future missionaries, leaders, pastors, doctors, teachers, bin men (no joke here, we all remember what it was like when the bin men went on strike) of the church.
Our heart at Youth Thursdays is to give every young person in Brighton and Hove the opportunity to serve Jesus. We do this on a Thursday by creating an environment where young people can know a real sense of belonging. This in turn opens up the possibility for them to be part of the wider Youth work at Holland Road, namely Youth Sundays, Encounter Extra, and Encounter. We want to help young people to belong, even before they believe. In reality, Youth Thursdays is part of the bigger family, namely Holland Road Youth, which is made up of amazing young people, awesome hard-working leaders, and is all driven by the belief that we are made to have and know a relationship with Jesus, to see His kingdom built on earth as it is in heaven.
I can hear your question coming: “that all sounds great, but how’s it going?” To answer that question, I’m reminded of how Jesus explained how the Kingdom of God grows. “How should we describe how the Kingdom of God grows”, asks Jesus, “well it’s like a seed, not just any seed, but the smallest of seeds, the mustard seed. And when it is sown it grows up to be bigger than any of the other plants (kingdoms). A seed only grows when it is sown; we are not to miss this important bit of the parable.”
At Holland Road Youth we do a lot of sowing, and what I’ve learnt over the last four years, is the Kingdom grows in the most unexpected, unexplainable ways. It just grows! Is that numerical growth? Yes and no; we don’t want to grow in size for the sake of size, but rather we want to make more disciples of Jesus. Often on a Thursday I get asked at the end of the night by another leader, “how many young people did we have today?” A valid question, but I now choose to answer it in this way: “I cannot believe that she or he was here tonight, we were praying that they would come tonight, or, isn’t it amazing to see her here tonight without her usual friends, she came because she wants to be here!”.
May you join us in giving young people the opportunity to serve Jesus in this city, why not come and help out on a Thursday night, or a Sunday morning or afternoon, in creating a place where they can belong before they believe, and when they do believe journeying with them.
If you would like more info about how you can help out then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org