Bridging gaps: bringing young people together
“But it’s our church.”
Three years ago, I remember when I first introduced the idea of expanding our Friday night youth club to the four other churches that I had begun to work for, to my young people.
There were mixed reactions; some of them were fine about it, others needed to know the names of the children who would be coming to our group and some told me, “But it’s our church.”
It can difficult when we begin to explore the possibilities of working alongside more youth workers and young people in our area.
It is easy to focus on the challenges, or the risk of losing your own young people, and back out.
But the Kingdom of Heaven is meant to be filled with different and diverse people. We’re meant to be the church and we’re meant to function together.
In 1 Corinthians 12:25, it says:
“This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.”
In Southall, our overall aim is to bridge gaps between young people.
It’s easy for them to become territorial and not want to leave the safety net of their own church.
But for the last two years, I have witnessed over 30 young people walk into a church they wouldn’t call their own and begin to find comfort, not necessarily in the building, but with the family of God that surrounds them.
I’ve found breakthrough on this through a couple of ways.
It happened for us through intentional team building exercises that forced them to talk to those they don’t know for the purpose of a common goal, in this case to be crowned ‘winner’.
We’ve seen new friendships formed and even witnessed a few young people attend a whole Sunday service at different churches, stepping out of their comfort zones for fellowship.
We also make sure we eat together for an hour every Friday.
We share parts of our week and laugh with one another, tell jokes and just enjoy being with the family that God has provided for this season.
If our starting point is gospel fellowship and community, if we nurture friendships, then it doesn’t matter where our young people go, so long as they find those there.
If you have a local church in mind for your young people to connect with, start by building your own fellowship with their youth worker or vicar.
Get to know one another, help each other and then introduce your people and help them understand that as the church, if we begin by caring for one another, then harmony will bridge gaps.