This is a weird week for me. I've been involved in Youth work for nearly 15 years - almost half of my life. I started running my first youth club with friends when we were still youths ourselves, under the watchful eye of our old youth leader. This Sunday I will be leaving that chapter behind - possibly for just a while but quite possibly forever. Making big changes like this often spark episodes of reflection. Images and stories from the past come to the front of our minds as we think back. There are some brilliant stories I could tell you but I'd be here all night.
This change has been coming for over well over a year now. With my pursuit of Rock Stardom (see previous post) out of the window, my responsibilities had been divided between youthwork and worship - to the detriment of them both. I'm a firm believer that if you're going to do something, do it right. To do that, a decision had to be made as to which I should focus my time on. You see Youthwork for me is comfortable - its the old pair of shoes or that baggy jumper. Over the years I've had most situations thrown at me and I've survived - we have a history, I've grown up with youth work. Worship on the other hand is the new pair of boots I haven't quite worn in yet. There are many more blisters to come before they get comfortable!
My old youth leader Sheila died a few months ago. She was not only a great friend and teacher but an amazing example of how a life should be lived. She has taught me so much over the years. I think I was 8 years old when I first met her. She was my primary 3 teacher. She then went on to be my SU leader; then as we went to secondary school our youth leader; after I committed my life to Christ she took me to her church and became my bible class leader; she taught me piano for 5 years, helping me understand how music works; she bought my first band their first drum kit (ha , the church never saw that one coming!!!). She let Steph and I live in her house for weeks when we had sold our house and needed a place to stay before we moved to Ireland. Each step of the way she would share her faith with us - not preaching it, not ramming it down our throats but by LIVING it!!! I will really miss her and hope that I can live up to her example.
Wow, I'm crying (again!!!). Anyway why bring that up? Over the last few weeks a mutual friend has had the hard task of going through all of Sheila’s things and has been sending me packages of random stuff that Sheila has kept over the years. She kept everything! They include lots of photos, drawings, and letters.
In the last package I got there was an old school jotter. Sheila had given us the book to record the minutes of the meetings we had about the new Youth Club we were setting up - 15 years ago! Amazing!! It feels as if it has all come full circle. I'm back there again, a teenager, excited and scared about how I've landed with this responsibility - yet burning with a desire to encourage, teach and share God's love just as Sheila had with us.
Although I move away from youthwork I take with me, into my worship, that same excitement, fear and desire. Here's to the next 15 years!!!