We believe that creating relationships with young people is key to how we work as a Youth Project. Our first and original youth worker, James Nicol, has written about his experience in forming long lasting relationships:
Hannah has asked me to pen a few sentences on building long lasting relationships with young people. Sounds a bit formal doesn’t it?
On Saturday 9th May we’ve been invited to Hannah Stokes’ wedding. Can’t wait. I can’t remember how old Hannah is now, but I can remember her coming to Adventurers for the first time when she was seven. She was brought by another seven year old – Anna. Sue Stokes will probably be able to confirm that this is why Sue starting coming to Chapel and why she now helps with Explore on Tuesday nights. I had an email from Anna’s Mum – Janice – last week; she’d watched a Greenbelt interview of Russel Brand I had sent around, and she told me how much she’d loved it. Janice lives in Evesham now.
On the same day as Hannah’s wedding, we’ve been invited to the 60th birthday party of one of the Mums of young people now in their late 30s. When her boys first came to the project Dad was upset and told us not to corrupt his boys. I went cycling with Simon (one of their boys) last weekend and we’ve just booked a trip to Ambleside together.
Last Thursday, Rich popped round to offload some of his Christmas beer. I’ve only ever mowed our lawn once – Rich has mowed it every other time. We’ve lived at Stoneleigh for twelve years now. We invited Rich to our wedding as a young 14 year old. He’s 39 now. Rich couldn’t come to our wedding, but Becky (his sister) came – and is still actively making a difference in the lives of young people.
Why am I telling you this? Well, time moves very quickly doesn’t it? Life is short. I expect I’ve lived over half of my life now and when I do get to my death bed, I won’t be thinking about the stuff I’m leaving behind, but the people who I’m leaving and those who will be waiting for me. I want everybody I know to get to heaven. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do with the time I’ve got left on earth than to invest it in long lasting relationships, that will hopefully turn out to be eternal. Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he told the rich young ruler to build his treasures in heaven rather than on earth. After all, God is relational and we’re made in his image – it’s good for us and others to have lots of quality relationships. I guess it’s because of the Trinity – the longest lasting relationship of all.
My old youth worker, Pete, is coming to ours on Sunday for lunch. He had to put up with a lot from me when I was in his youth group – I can’t wait to see him. I guess I’m so grateful for what I’ve been given; of having people looking out for me when I was young, that I want to carry on his legacy.
Reunion at Greenbelt anyone?