You work, they fly, praise be...

So it all begins again. 

Your year 13s have flown the nest, and now your wide eyed 16 and 17 year olds are about to embark on their last year of school life.

This evening I felt led to the story of Gideon as I thought about what to share with you youthworkers.

It’s a story (like so many in the Bible) where God takes a little and does great things with it…for his glory.  Gideon was told he would lead this great thing but that God would get all the glory, with no room for boasting on Israel’s part (Jud 6-7).  Acting now to make sure your young people are ready to leave for uni next summer is not something that is going to bring you or your church a lot of glory.  The fruit of it will be seen once they’ve gone.  There, at uni, God will do great things with those young people and the glory will all be to him.  It’s hard to boast in the flourishing of those young people when you’re not around to see it and no one there knows who laid their foundations.  It’s also sometimes hard to trust that God will be on it when you’re out of control.  When they leave, though, and fly, it’s going to be clear that it is God working in them to do great things.  It can be hard to get people behind you in investing in something you won’t see the fruit of but God will get the glory of it.  Lead them boldly.  You may feel ‘but there’s little I can do – I only have a couple’, or ‘I’ve not much time’.  God makes it clear in Gideon’s story that he doesn’t need a great amount with which to do great things. 

Your school leavers have just under four months (less than one for Oxbridge) to get in their applications! Time is short.  What are you going to do in the next 11 months which prepares them for the step they’re going to make next?  What tools will you teach them to use so they can wield them well when they’re independent? 

Here are three suggestions:

  • Run Youth Alpha with them and their mates – get them to do the inviting, cooking, and group leading. They’ll trial a great student mission resource and have the confidence to lead it themselves.
  • Get them mentors now! Paul at New Life, North London did it and says “each [young person] chose an adult in the Church to mentor them in the run up to uni... Mentors and mentees have met once a month and it is the best thing we have ever done for the 16-18 age group”.
  • Buy Studentscapes for your young people. It’s a 13 session discipleship      resource tackling key topics for students. It’ll get them looking ahead to give them confidence and a peace about walking into their new world. They can do it monthly with their mentors, or in a group.

The university years will hugely shape your school leavers’ lives.

You won't be there with them but you can prepare them. You may feel like you can only do a little with your few young people, but with that little God will do great things, for his glory! So let's start now!

Pippa Elmes

Ministry Training Leader

Pippa supports those in church based student ministry to do their job really well. She loves challenging churches to work with students and equipping them to pioneer new mission opportunities to reach students.                     

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