As anyone who follows me on Twitter will know, I spend a fair amount of time on trains and in cars.
I love travelling (thankfully) and meeting people from all over the UK who all share the same passion - to see young people welcomed, valued, encouraged, challenged and introduced to Jesus.
This term I'm especially excited (not an unusual emotion for me, admittedly) as for the first time I'm taking a Preparation for University Workshop for youth workers and church leaders around the UK. Also, it's really hitting home. So far I've run a version of the workshop with groups in Cumbria, Ipswich and Lancaster and started the conversation with others in Southend and Billericay and people are totally getting it. They're throwing up great questions not just about preparing young people in the year before they go, but also about what it means to lead a youth ministry that, through it's entire lifespan, prepares young people for independent lives of faith.
This is triggering much bigger questions about how we do discipleship, what we teach about church, if we teach about church and what it means to be an adult in a church community. It's raising questions of how we keep young people engaged with church beyond 15, is that too young for leadership and why wait until they're students to do a banquet challenge?
It's been humbling to see youth workers step out of the reality of work pressures and a preservation, in the present, mind set and ask big questions about the foundations they're laying. It's humbling and exciting, and I'm learning loads.
It's also a surprise - I started this workshop to look at the year before they leave for uni, with a few nods to the bigger picture, but it's getting taken deeper by those who come along.
If you're a youth worker or church leader and would like to host a Preparation for University Workshop for others in your area I'd love to come and run one with you. Do get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to exploring this exciting opportunity with you.