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29 June 2017

Life’s greatest change

Aaron Griffin Aaron Griffin Head of Youth Ministry
Youth - Super Sunday group

What was your first day of secondary school like? I can remember mine very clearly, sat in a silent tutor room with 25 other year 7s. One girl came in with all her buttons on her uniform done up — that was a definite no! She was quickly told by one of the louder girls to loosen up.

Change and new experiences are difficult for young people. We know this, but the move from feeling invincible at the top of primary school in year 6 to becoming the bottom of the food chain in a secondary school in year 7 is arguably one of the biggest changes in a young person’s life. New social structures, inability to reason like an adult, and a constant feeling of being out of your depth can make it very difficult. I remember one parent describing it by saying, “No joke, this is one of the hardest times in life!”

Because of this, we have worked hard in the youth and children’s ministry to put a structure in place to help young people in year 6 to transition as best they can into the year 7 group and help them out with their school transition. We do this before summer so they don’t go through all the change at once. This also means they get to know and be welcomed by the current year 7 group.

Three of them committed their lives to Jesus last week – we’re still buzzing!

What happened?

Back in April, during an 11am service, the year 6 group, Jane Watkins (Head of Children’s Ministry) and I huddled together in Jane’s office around cake and Fruit Shoots to begin the CY course. (It’s the ‘See why’ course … I know, I didn’t get it at first either.) This is a Christianity Explored course for young people.

Seven weeks, much cake, and some very difficult questions later we had looked at Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. After questions like, ‘What if aliens landed on earth?’ and, ‘What is heaven like?’ we hit week 7, the final summary.

Using a traffic light system, the young people indicated where they were at with their thoughts about faith in Jesus. Red was a ‘definitely not a Christian!’ and green was ‘I am ready to go.’ I also drew a steering wheel for the Christians in the group to indicate they were already driving. Many of them put their hands on the amber light meaning, ‘I am not quite there because I still have questions.’ I turned to Jane and inappropriately remarked that she had been a Christian for a while, but asked if she still had questions. The answer – a definite, ‘Yes!’ – seems to have been the turning point for many of them.

We reviewed what we had seen, then prayed together and included a prayer of commitment. Then we asked them again to indicate where they were at. Three had moved. They put their hands on the picture of the steering wheel, indicating they were no longer waiting at the traffic lights but had driven through. Holding back tears, Jane and I told them what a special thing this was. Then we began Super Sunday, a special event for the year 6s to get to know the Box group by going for lunch together at the top of the West Quay and then playing games in the park.

Youth - Super Sunday selfie

So among the visits to different groups, trips out and parents meetings, we continue to help those young guys and their families through this time of change. Please pray for all our children and young people as they continue to have opportunities to engage with God. It is such a joy to see God at work!

Please also pray for those three that made a commitment, that God would protect their new faith and that they would grow in their love and commitment to Christ. Pray for those young people who are still exploring too, that they would find the answers to their questions and take that step of faith to follow Jesus too.

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Children, Youth

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