Found a fiver?

Hands scrambled, empty chairs were upturned and excited whispers spread like wildfire.

I had been kind of surprised when only about 60% of the sixth form assembly put up their hands up to indicate they would agree with the statement “I hope I find a £5 note today”.  Apparently 40% just weren’t bothered.  The atmosphere changed, though, when I told them that under one of their seats was stuck a £5 note, and they could keep it if they could find it.

Hands scrambled, empty chairs were upturned and excited whispers spread like wildfire.

There was a different type of hope in the room the second time round.  The first was wishful thinking, it’ll-be-good-if-it-comes-to-me hope.  The second was tangible, this-could-happen, action-inducing hope.  How often are the hopes of our young people of the first type?  How often are their desires to thrive at university, in friendships, in faith, in the things they love, just wishful thinking?  How can we help them to grasp onto those intentions as tangible, could-be realities, and act accordingly? 

The reason we encourage youth workers to prepare their young people for university is because we believe that it can shift that hope from the former to the latter.  This is important for any young person, irrespective of religious conviction, going into the melange of vulnerability, opportunity, intellectual challenge and isolation that freshers term is.  The opportunity to process hopes, fears, and dreams can help them to move from hoping they’ll be themselves at university, to determining to be so.  They will and should be shaped, sharpened and shifted by living their lives in this stimulating environment. 

Let’s give space for them to go into that confident and intentional about who they are and the lives they’re going to pursue there.

You can see who arrives at university with a heart full of expectant hope.  You can tell the ones who launch into freshers’ week ready.  You can see those who drift in, and get caught up in the crowd and flow along.  Let’s have that conversation with our young people where they have space to honestly explore what they want university life to be for them.  What are they looking forward to?  What are they nervous about?  Who do they want to be in four years’ time?  Then let’s encourage them to seek after that with intentionality and joy as they make the most of university life. 

Let’s see our young people be the example to others who’ve not been blessed with that opportunity.  

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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