By Esther Hutchinson, Cranmer Hall
On the 12th of July I travelled to Walesby in Nottinghamshire to join with Christians from around the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham for a weekend of worship, teaching and fellowship.
I was a part of the youth team running the Generate venue for young people aged 11-18
Over the weekend I was a part of the youth team running the Generate venue for young people aged 11-18. The venue saw sessions run at the same time as the adult venues so that everyone on site had the chance to access worship, teaching and fellowship. The theme for the weekend this year was ‘Step out’. Over the four main sessions that ran in the youth venue a series of talks took place alongside games, activities and creative prayer spaces.
One aim of the teaching across the weekend is that each age group across the site looks at the same theme of ‘Stepping out’ but in a way that is suitable to those attending. As a result, the teaching sessions saw a variety of issues about how to live life as a Christian which was relevant to the young people present. The first evening in the youth venue we addressed how it is easy for us to compartmentalise our lives and while this works to an extent we are called, as Christians, to live our lives differently – to live with our faith at the centre which flows throughout our life and not just in one part of it. This introduced the weekend’s theme and allowed for the next session to look at how to have ‘firm foundations’ such as reading the bible, praying and the people we have around us.
The third session of the weekend looked at the idea of ‘build my house’ and what our part of building God’s kingdom looks like. With the final session wrapping up, the teaching by looking at invitation and how we tell others about our faith and invite them along on the journey.
In this context they realise that there are other people like them. That they are not alone in their faith as a young person in the church.
We have found, over the past four years of running the youth venue at Transform, the fact that 70-80 young people join together in one venue to learn more and worship God has a massive impact, especially when many of the young people that come may only have one or two others their age in their own church. In this context they realise that there are other people like them. That they are not alone in their faith as a young person in the church.
I have found that the past four years on team with the youth venue has enabled me to grow in my own calling to leadership and ministry in the Church of England. Each year I see young people come and go to transform and then the next year I see that they have grown in faith and in their own identity.
Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity – 1 Timothy 4:12
Supported by St John’s Student Opportunities Fund.
Photographs by Esther Hutchinson